Apprentice Adept

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Anthony, Piers. Split Infinity. Book One of the Apprentice Adept series. New York: Del Rey, 1987 (mass market pb).

Juxtaposes high-tech, feudal-capitalist world of Proton with the fantasy world of Phaze, where magic works. See for comparison and contrast of "self-willed" humanoid robots and AI (especially a lead female humanoid robot) and unicorns and werewolves, especially a lead female unicorn, with one alternative shape of a woman.

Note also on Proton a conspiracy of self-willed, conscious robots and AI devices not aimed at take-over but survival, and the question of robot (et al.) emotions: if a sufficiently high-tech (humanoid) robot gives all the appearances of (human) emotion, has it passed a feelings-analog of the Turing Test and — given our inability to know what organic others are feeling — must we grant that, as a practical matter, it has the displayed genuine emotions? On that last point, cf. the "death" of HAL 9000 in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (film).

Includes a range of equines from a very convincing robot horse through regular organic horses to unicorns, which do have horses in their ancestry but are both organic beings and magical.

{Short-person Erlich also notes sympathetic handling of height and body size, and condemnation of the prejudices against the small (as in the hero Stile) and the very large (the helpful buddy, Hulk); that's not relevant for the human/machine interface, but it's bloody-well about time that popular literature dealt with us short people who "got no reason to live" (as Randy Newman satirically saith).}

Discussed in the Wikipedia article on Apprentice Adept.[1]

As of October 2022, Split Infinity (and Blue Adept) available as a well-done audiobook from, at link.[2]

3. FICTION, RDE, 14/II/11; finishing, 10Oct22