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[personal profile] fjm
Definitely science fiction.



This begins very well indeed, with Amy, a very young android (a vN), finding out that her “grandmother” is a renegade, and attacking and eating her rather than letting Granny eat her mother. Amy is an android in a world where androids can reproduce (iterate), survive on plastics(sometimes processed to look like food, sometimes scavenged) and are frequently in relationships with humans although legal marriage is not permitted. She has a human father and a vN mother. Food makes androids grow, so her father has her on a fashionable starvation diet to keep her small. He just wants her to have a childhood, other men are not so innocent and there is a very poorly handled thread in which two “young” robots turn out to lie behind a sort of liberation movement, taking revenge on paedophhiles who use robots to channel their urges (in part because it doesn’t always work—not exactly a surprise).

Amy goes on the lam, finds she has accidentally ingested Granny’s mind, meets Javier, an eco model wanted for multiple iteration (illegal in California, but no one seems to mention leaving the state), after lots of captures and escapes Amy finds out her Granny (a “Portia”) was breeding Portias to get more like herself with a failure in the”failsafe” (it both imprints vNs on humans and causes them to die/blue screen if they see violence to a human) stemming from the use of the Portia model as nurses.

Having defeated her human and vN threats, Amy settles down on Mecha (a utopian island for mechanoids, and also a tourist destination for humans) with Javier.

I enjoyed this book (particularly Amy trying to cope with a suddenly grown-to-adulthood-body) but found it very structurally tedious after a while: when Ashby runs out of ideas, you just know Amy will be captured again. At times it also felt like a superman story: Amy gets her super-sekrit powers from eating her granny, and then from eating a bit of Javier. And then at the end, we get more than a little touch of Pinnochio, as Javier learns to cry as an emotional response, rather than to order, and to care for his sons, rather than simply distribute them. Yes, Javier, you really area real boy.

Shortlistable? Not really, but had I read it in time I might have nominated it for the BSFA. Definitely an author to watch, but this book needed some focus on what the author thought was actually important, because by two thirds in, I had the distinct impression she had forgotten.

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August 2014

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