SFF

Autonomous

Tor. Sept. 2017. 304p. ISBN 9780765392077. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780765392091. SF
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OrangeReviewStarJudith "Jack" Chen is a pharmaceutical pirate: by reverse-engineering prohibitively expensive drugs, she can make antivirals and other therapies available to the poor. Unfortunately, one of the drugs she duplicates is resulting in a series of lethal overdoses, and now she has to fix it and expose the truth about the corporation that created the original. Tracking down Jack is Paladin, a military-issue robot from the African Federation, and his human partner, Eliasz. Paladin's first mission starts his countdown clock—ten (or so) years of indentured servitude for his robot body and bio brain, both belonging to the Federation. As Jack and Paladin's paths bring them closer together, the black-and-white truths of the corporate and military worlds begin to bleed into gray. The cofounder of the sf website io9.com takes some of today's key social and technical issues (the nature of artificial intelligence, the notion of property and ownership) and wraps them in a compelling, original story line acted out by memorable characters.
VERDICT Lovers of original, thought-provoking sf should not miss this one. [Newitz was a panelist at LJ's Day of Dialog: ow.ly/UNS430cD2o1.—Ed.]

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