Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Book: Annalee Newitz' "Autonomous: A Novel"

I followed the fact of "The Ottomans" with the fiction of Annalee Newitz' "Autonomous: A Novel". 

The book takes place in some nearby but indistinct future where Pharmaceutical companies, armed with patent law, control most of society.  They control everything from cures and treatments of disease, to entertainment narcotics, and workplace productivity enhancers.  The main characters in this rather bleak world is a phrma pirate, an indentured servant, a patent enforcement agent, and his semi-autonomous android.

The world and the characters were introduced in a jerky way that sometimes confused me.  I eventually got used to the writing style but I felt there was a lack of depth in the world where the action takes place.  The book would have benefitted from a slower more methodical building of the characters and their backgrounds.

The characters moved through the book in groups of two that didn't interact much even near the end when they were in the same room.  Their stories felt disjointed and disconnected.  It was as if two different stories were woven together without creating any useful pattern.  The agent and his robot companion went in odd directions that may have been interesting on their own but felt out of place in this book.

I gave this book three stars out of five on Goodreads.  I don't think I can recommend this one.  A little massaging and polishing would make it a worthy read but it wasn't quite there for me.

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