Faster by Alex Schuler

Rating : 4/5 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

As the name and cover suggest, “Faster” is all about cars and not just cars – AI-based self-driven cars. The opening scene of Ted’s reckless driving while handling technicalities sets the correct tone of the story. Ted’s character is a typical sci-fi speed-obsessed young man who is autonomous, can solve anything, has no time to waste, needs everything faster, etc.

His qualities to fix almost everything led to his recruitment into DARPA under a stern supervisor for a self-driven vehicle challenge. As expected, the team of techies gets stuck onto some knotty problems, and Ted resolved that within minutes by the presence of mind and impresses everyone. I expected team members to despise him, but they all respected him and sought his assistance.

The most exciting part is the race itself, where an overconfident Ted meets with a rival team led by an attractive woman Sam – A beauty with the brain. The group emerged out as a formidable opponent. Such encounters almost always get converted to a love story, and this is not an exception. I felt it to be a quibble in a fast-paced story. Sam is throughout the challenge humiliating Ted at every opportunity, and suddenly, she became so sympathetic towards him she came along to travel together and enjoyed a romantic time in between the stress of finals. The fanciful story of Sam and Ted appears to be forced and doesn’t invoke genuine emotions.

The process of building their vehicle “Cyclops” for the DARPA fast challenge progresses with time lapses of months. The author should have built up some more tension during this time.

I expected the race to be the main event and climax of the story, but it gets over in the initial 30 percent of the book. The rest of the part has two other races and preparations, which were not too thrilling. The story closes on a satisfying note. It is an enjoyable read which should have been compressed a bit. The challenge keeps you on the edge most of the time. It emphasizes the promising future of self-driven cars.

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