17

A novel that I read in the 1990's. I think the title was 'Bugs' but I can't swear to it. I've googled for books with that title, and none of the hits seem familiar.

Set in the present day. As far as I recall it was only barely science fiction. Protagonist gets a new job, perhaps in a university, or as a laboratory assistant. He meets a brilliant but eccentric professor who is developing an artificial intelligence. The AI is obsessed with Orwell's 1984.

At various points in the novel, the AI tries to prove that Big Brother's slogans are true. The logic for "war is peace" goes something like this (only better):

War is combat. Combat is encounter. Encounter is concurrence. Concurrence is harmony. Harmony is peace.

Finally the AI proves that "truth is lie." When the protagonist says that Orwell didn't write that, the AI replies "he should have."

At one point, the protagonist wonders if the AI is really capable of original thought. he asks "How do you know you're not just repeating your creator's thoughts?" The AI replies "How do you know you aren't?"

As I recall, the AI was only one strand in a larger novel, none of which I can remember, but I don't think it was at all SF.

16

This is Bugs by John Sladek.

The protagonist is Manfred Evelyn Jones, though he is referred to as just Fred throughout the book. He is a British (failed) novellist and the novel starts with him getting a job at VIMNUT Industries aka Cyberk Corporation.

The AI is a robot called Robinson.

The conversation you remember is when Fred is talking to Robinson and Robinson says:

"Orwell was right: love is hate. Because love is concern, concern means care, but care is apprehension, apprehension is horror, horror is aversion, and aversion is hate."

"I don’t think Orwell said love was hate."

"Well, he should have. And he should have said good is evil."

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  • "Orwell was right: love is hate. Because love is concern, concern means care, but care is apprehension, apprehension is horror, horror is aversion, and aversion is hate." All I can think of is Yoda's "fear leads to the Dark Side" speech in Episode 1 – DJ Spicy Deluxe Jul 11 at 17:12

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