- About the Book
The highly anticipated science fiction debut from the founder of io9 Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can't otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane.Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair: Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack's drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understand.And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?
The humor and casual brutality of Autonomous overflowed my buffers. That's a very technophilic way of phrasing what I mean. To restate in more customary-to-human terms, this first novel by renowned science popularizer Annalee Newitz is both extremely funny and unfussily violent; combined with her well-honed writing skills, those qualities kept me from questioning too deeply the parallels she points out between intelligent robots and human slaves at least while I was reading it, and so far for two days afterward. Newitz's mercifully brief descriptions of the attacks and injuries sustained by her characters share a matter-of-fact tone with my favorite examples of the book's humor, the many bot-to-bot communications.