An Unnatural Life

Tor.com. Sept. 2020. 192p. ISBN 9781250752093. pap. $14.99. SF
Lawyer Aiya Ritsehrer had only gone to visit the convicted murderer as part of the rehabilitation program, but the robotnik Worker-class 812-3 insists he is not guilty. Cybernetic organisms have recently been awarded rights on Earth, but on the moon Europa the military colony has not progressed quite that far. Aiya begins to explore the possibility of an appeal for 812-3 and the facts that exist beyond the obvious evidence. Faced with prejudice from other humans—including her own—Aiya will discover that this case will not only impact her professional and personal life on Europa, but it will have repercussions throughout the galaxy all the way back to Earth. Thematic questions about humanity, artificial life, and created community are woven into tight scenes and pointed prose.
VERDICT Wagner (The Green and Growing) delivers a work with a focus of a “what makes one human?” theme in an exciting novella that recalls Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Emily Devenport’s “Medusa Cycle” series.
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