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Sentience: A Science Fiction Exploration of AI Through An Epic Turing Test - Book 1


Loved it! 😍

Strangers. Stranded in an arena. Deadly obstacles. Four are not human. The perfect survivalist fiction novel for science nerds & AI fans!

A group of strangers.  Stranded in an arena named ‘Eden’.  Deadly obstacles to face.  Four of them are not human.  No one knows who is human and who is not.  Will they work out which of their teammates are artificial intelligence?  Will they survive the arena?  Will they survive the test?


In this addictive and conceptual science fiction debut, perfect for fans of the Hunger Games and Lost, Courtney Hunter breathes life into the renowned Turing Test, exploring the blurred boundaries between computer-generated and human intelligence. Can a computer be conscious? Can a computer feel? Can a computer be sentient?  At the end of the test, if the answer is “yes”, what does this mean for humanity? This extremely interesting take on Turing’s experiment combines real world possibilities and ethics with survivalist fiction. I loved it! 


The exploration of the philosophical debates was beautifully, naturally woven into the dialogue and really piqued the reader’s interest, without drawing away too much from the fictional happenings. The pacing keeps you on your toes and there are plenty of twists along the way. The author clearly displays a wave of passion for the subject and the amount of research that went into the novel is abundantly clear. Impressively, this did not feel like a debut and Hunter’s work had a sense of maturity usually lacking in other writers’ earlier works. That said, I felt the plot suffered the same fate as many in the genre; there were too many characters, with some forming little to no role in the plot’s development. This was quite confusing at times. I also wish that the point of view did not jump from character to character as often within the same chapter. In my opinion, the novel could have been slightly improved had two to three characters been chosen and chapters alternated between their perspectives. Again, this would have lessened the confusion and allowed for greater character development. There were sections narrated by minor characters that just felt unnecessary. These could have been removed or told from the perspective of one of the main characters. Equally, another minor issue was that it was quite dialogue heavy.  I wish that Hunter would have SHOWN us events, through vivid descriptions, rather than TOLD us everything via tedious dialogue. As a performance artist, as well as writer, I would love to see more of Hunter’s creativity bleed through into the descriptive elements of storytelling.   I know that Hunter would be able to deliver this.  I also wish that the obstacles had been BIGGER, BOLDER and SCARIER! Furthermore, I prefer to keep topics, such as assault, out of fictive works where possible, but as the implications were thoroughly discussed, trigger warnings provided and these events were key to certain ethical and conceptual discussions central to the work, I find this somewhat permissible.   Personally, I also found it a little predictable, however I am known to have an exceptionally keen eye, and this did not hinder my enjoyment, thus I do not really hold this against the book either. 


Overall, I discovered most of my complaints were quite miniscule and I did thoroughly enjoy my experience reading the novel.  I was OVERLY impressed with the execution of this unique, highly intriguing, and intellectually stimulating piece. I eagerly await another instalment from Hunter and cannot wait to discover what premise will be tackled next!  (I have high expectations!)  RECOMMEND!


I am incredibly grateful to the writer for including the following TRIGGER WARNINGS at the beginning of the novel: SEXUAL ASSAULT, ADDICTION, BODILY HARM, SUICIDE, GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, as well as THREAT and discussions of GRIEF.  

Reviewed by

Experienced Content Writer & freelance Editor, with a degree in Philosophy (specialising in Literature). When I'm not reading or reviewing books, I'm writing my first fantasy novel or am getting to grips with my new website and YouTube channel.

We Begin

About the author

Courtney P. Hunter is a serial creator with experience in the fashion industry and with live performance. New to fiction writing, her sci-fi novel, Sentience, is a written extension of a contemporary dance piece that was produced for the '17 Philly Fringe Festival based on artificial intelligence. view profile

Published on October 30, 2020

100000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by