AUTONOMOUS, Annalee Newitz. Possibly the best introduction all year: a designer drug pirate in an invisible submarine. How fucking cool is that?
This book is a great pleasure. Newitz tosses out gorgeous imagery like it’s easy, while delivering a propulsive story about copyright gone mad, profiteering gone worse, insanely great drugs that are just great at driving people insane and an absolutely fascinating consideration of robot gender and AI “emotion.” And the law. A big part of this is about law, and about the questions we will need to ask ourselves as we move forward into the future of pharma, economics, and, speculatively, upscale machine-learning systems and consciousness emulation.
Paladin wondered if Eliasz was opposed to the system of indenture. There were entire text repositories that focused on eliminating the indenture of humans. Their pundits argued that humans should not be owned like bots because nobody paid to make them. Bots, who cost money, required a period of indenture to make their manufacture worthwhile. No such incentive was required for humans to make other humans.
This is a strong, speedy and energetic piece of social science fiction, and very deeply thought out. It’s a vivid rush of a book, smart as hell and laughing with very sharp teeth. I had a hell of a lot of fun with it. So will you.