Updated: Jan 30, 2020
AUTHOR: Annalee Newitz
PUBLISHER: Tor Books
PUBLISHED DATE: September 19, 2017
Autonomous was our first book club discussion of 2018. It was selected from our Science Fiction poll conducted on Goodreads. This was such a timely novel - fast paced, totally relevant, and I'm so ashamed that it took me so long to get into.
Set in 2144, people are looking for performance enhancement drugs. Jack is a pharmaceutical pirate - she synthesizes expensive drugs and makes them affordable for the poor. When one of the drugs she's synthesized has an unintended negative affect, she goes on the run from Eliasz and Paladin a militarized police duo, one human and one bot, to catch her.
This book deals with the construct of gender. The bots are genderless...other than the gender they are programmed to have. Owners of bots engage the bots sexually, is this considered rape? Are the feelings beings that are programmed to feel valid? Are they capable of consent? Waht does it mean to have autonomy? Is Autonomy freedom? As we become a world more reliant on bots - think of our android phones, siri, and other smart devices, and the advent of the robot Sophia television shows like Westworld and Humans seem like a very reachable future. This book examines all of the ethical implications of what this might mean in a very intelligent, if at times, jargon heavy, novel that I think solid sci-fi lovers will appreciate.
Recommendation: If you love sci-fi, and would appreciate a book with action and sound scientific principles, this is for you!
Audience: Millennials and Beyond