Free Will Odyssey
Free Will Odyssey finds Peter dealing with the death of his sister by forming a plan to enhance free will in hopes that this will put an end to drug addiction. That’s when he creates Electra: an electronic device with the sole job of enhancing free will. He starts up a company and seeks the help of the lovely Tanya to test out Electra. Everything seems to be going his way until he and Electra are blamed for Tanya’s suicide. When his company takes off, he’s surprised to receive an opportunity to take on the US President as a client and struggles to deal with an industrialist who has a hidden agenda.
Larry Kilham dives into what free will means and uses it to branch into the controversial topic of suicide, which is heavily explored when Peter gets put on trial to determine if he used Electra to cause Tanya’s death. The death of his sister drives Peter to enhance free will with the explanation, “[S]tudies showed that engineering free will could unlock the mind from the pleasure traps of excess eating, drug addiction, and other health problems.” Nothing feels far fetched, with the technology realistic and the advancements perfectly suited to Peter’s goals. The world has a slight futuristic setting, with automated robots and advanced AI technology, but remains grounded in the present we have today.
Electra takes up most of the focus, with most of the situations revolving around the device, including how Tanya and Peter end up bonding and what nearly gets Peter sent to prison. Most of the characters are involved somehow with Electra or the company, making it a very small group that Peter interacts with. Peter has a noble aspiration and is honestly a decent person, so he’s quite likable, and it’s easy to get caught up in his story.
Tanya and Peter’s love story is very subtle in the background, but it’s a very important element as it is a small yet key part in both of their stories. Tanya’s character is one of the most layered as she’s one of the first to use Electra with the goal to lose weight. Electra may be a device, but Kilham gives it a role as a way to represent free will and as a confidant for Tanya to turn to for advice. Free Will Odyssey is a quick read that will open up your mind and make you think about what free will actually means.