Alan Turing, Enigma

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Murmur:  A Novel
by Will Eaves
Bellevue Literary Press. 184 pages, $16.99

 

“DO I NEED to set down the circumstances?” The narrator, Alec Pryor, confronts the reader with this question on the first page of Murmur: A Novel. Alec Pryor is a thinly disguised version of Alan Turing, the English mathematician who broke the Nazis’ Enigma code in World War II, which was critical to the ultimate defeat of Germany in the six-year Battle of the Atlantic. Turing is also credited with inventing the world’s first programmable computer, and the “Turing Test” remains the standard test of artificial intelligence.

         In 1952, Turing dramatically fell from grace when he was convicted of “gross indecency” for a brief sexual fling with another man. Faced with prison, he accepted chemical castration and probation as an alternative. In 1954, he was found dead of cyanide poisoning, possibly by his own hand.

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Jean Roberta is a widely published writer based in Regina, Sask.

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