I picked up ‘Corner’ with an eye towards seeing if it was an undiscovered gem of a proto-cyberpunk novel.
In fact, it’s pretty bad…..
The novel is set in the late 70s in Minnesota, where a mainframe computer in a corporation that does top-secret work for the government shows signs of having been hacked by enemies unknown. A trio of FBI agents is assigned to investigate.
Nearby, a young teenage genius named Oley discovers that he is ‘receiving’ thoughts of breakthrough technologies, including energy modulating coil assemblies, and a pedal-powered ultralight airplane. In his workshop - a converted fallout shelter - Oley begins work on assembling the equipment whose images and designs he has 'received.'
The two separate plot lines gradually converge, and it becomes increasingly clear that a new type of human-computer interface has been created – one that allows a newly formed AI to ‘telepathically’ communicate with young people. This Apple II – era Singularity is in peril, however, because an overzealous FBI agent is convinced that Oley and his young friends are the hackers who have compromised federal secrets……
‘Corner’ could have been an interesting novel despite its rather far-fetched premise; unfortunately, the husband-and-wife team of Walt and Leigh Richmond are intent on using the novel as an advertisement for ‘The Centric Foundation’.
The verdict ? 'The Probability Corner' is a not an undiscovered gem of a proto-cyberpunk novel....... It's a dud ! Stay away from this one.