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"the [science fiction] writer should be able to convince the reader (and himself) that the wonders he is describing really can come true...and that gets tricky when you take a good, hard look at the world around you."
- Frederik Pohl

Big Computer  
  Just like it says; this computer knows it all.  

The Big Computer plays an important role in the novel; I don't want to say more. What I really liked was the way it was characterized in the book; it would appear to you the way you want. If you had a BC, a computer that could pass the Turing test, how would you have it serve you?

No toadying servomechanisms for me. When I accessed, I wanted to feel like I was talking to something at least as nasty as I was. Everybody I know likes to have the BC simper at them like a receptionist or baritone its words like a wide-screen Jehovah. Not me. The BC obliges by seeming to barely tolerate me.
From Millenium, by John Varley.
Published by Berkley Books in 1983
Additional resources -

Would your computer be servile, or just serviceful?

An interesting comparison can be made with the City Fathers, from Cities in Flight, published by James Blish in 1957.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Millenium
  More Ideas and Technology by John Varley
  Tech news articles related to Millenium
  Tech news articles related to works by John Varley

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