Set My Heart to Five

Hanover Square: Harlequin. Sept. 2020. 448p. ISBN 9781335551207. $27.99. SF
Jared introduces himself as a bot, a being engineered from a human body with computer elements, including his brain. Because this future society sees bots as less than humans, he must always introduce himself in this way. They’ve been created and imported to do the jobs that humans do not want to do. For example, Jared is a dentist. Bots are denied many rights and even feelings in this future world. Any bot who “malfunctions” and openly exhibits feelings runs the risk of being “wiped” or “incinerated.” When Jared begins to notice he is malfunctioning, his office-mate, a psychologist, introduces him to old movies, and explains some of the mysteries of emotions. When the authorities send Jared a recall notice, he runs away to experience adventure, life, emotion, and to become a screenwriter.
VERDICT Stephenson’s (Let Not the Waves of the Sea) novel will appeal to fans of Philip K. Dick or Isaac Asimov. Through frequent allusions to movies and novels, the story is also made accessible to almost anyone who enjoys romance, intrigue, or outsider tales.

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