Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Pirates and bounty hunters on the high chemical and electronic frontier! Add a bit of transgendered robot issues, a bit of do-gooder pharmaceutical mayhem, and time split between labs, parties, sexual repression, and a few really big questions explored deftly and interestingly, and we've got ourselves a very interesting SF.
Let's look at the top layer a little. Slavery issues. The novel takes them on for both robots and humans equally. I'd expected that from both the blurb and the cover, of course, but I don't think I expected the writing to have such good world-building thrown in. The whole chemical and big pharm complications were neither simple or dismissable, and that was only on the human side.
What would a world be like with open patents and sharing of chems and development, all of which is still being slowly strangled by capitalism? Take it a bit farther. Now let's start programming or deprogramming ourselves since we're so reliant on our own biologies.
Seriously, this is some pretty neat stuff and while we've had a bit of a discussion in this field for decades already, Newitz makes a cool tale and makes some very deft comparisons and mirroring here.
The tale itself if good if not spectacular. I had a good time. Still, I obviously appreciate the explorations of the messages more than anything else. :)
Thanks, Netgalley, for the ARC!
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