There's a book a read a few years ago which I can't remember the name for but can remember some of the plot.

  • Human race has devices implanted in their head so they can share information and communicate through the device
  • Because of this implant the majority of people don't learn how to speak (apart from small groups far from cities)
  • An engineer is chosen to travel to a space station near Pluto, I think
  • He has to have his implant removed for the journey, because of this he has to learn to speak for the first time
  • This is where my memory starts to fail, I remember an AI computer on the space station, and the engineer discovers that the AI is broken or something
  • The AI then tries to kill everyone on the station
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    – Edlothiad
    May 25, 2017 at 16:48

1 Answer 1


I think that a book titled "WE" by John G.H. Dickinson is what you are looking for.

My memory of the book is a bit fuzzy as IIt covers the following elements of your answer:

  • The World Ear system (the titular "WE") allows humans to achieve near-telepathic communication experience
  • The engineer chosen to travel to Pluto is called Paul Munro
  • I'm not sure if the implant was removed for the journey, or simply because the rigours of living on such a remote colony/outpost wouldn't allow people the luxury of staying attached to the World Ear
  • He does have problems acclimatising after the removal, which might have included speech problems.
  • The problem he (and the team of the outpost) discover is that the World Ear system unwittingly linked humanity into one giant hive mind/super-organism, with individual humans losing their distinct identity within the overarching system of the World Ear. This is quite close to what you refer to as the "AI being broken"
  • I don't quite remember whether the AI is trying to kill everyone. What happens is that the one of the female colonists gets successfully pregnant(?), and the rest of the colonists are trying to keep that a secret. The secret gets out, because the station is damaged to the extent that they require assistance from Earth. The colonists hypothesise that the World Ear will now figure out that it's possible to establish sustainable colonies outside of planet Earth, and spread outwards. The problem with that is that it's no longer humanity colonising the stars, it's the World Ear that happens to inhabit human hosts.

I don't have access to the text of the book right now, so I'm unable to provide quotations yet.

  • WE by John Dickinson, author's website on the book, Goodreads. Found by this search on ISFDB.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Oct 25, 2018 at 12:33
  • Oh and this review on Goodreads is very good and matches the OPs description quite well.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Oct 25, 2018 at 12:39
  • @TheLethalCarrot Thanks for finding it, by the way. I couldn't figure out how to do an advanced search on GoodReads, or any other book search engine. Oct 25, 2018 at 12:49
  • @FrederickTwyford the goal of such a site is to gather information, not just for the OP, but also for future readers looking for the same book. In case the link ever goes dead, editing in the relevant reviews etc, so that there's always a trace somewhere in the Internet :) (sounds naive, I know). In any case, good catch!
    – Jenayah
    Oct 25, 2018 at 12:50

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