iD

Can robots be human? Do they feel like we do or is it only because we have programmed them to? Are we taking advantage of them or is it our right since we created them?

Title

Title: iD
(Ama­zon, Goodreads)
Author:  Made­laine Ashby
(Ama­zon, Goodreads, Web­site)
Series: The Machine Dynasty
Pub­lisher: Angry Robot
Genre: Sci­ence Fic­tion
For­mat: EBook
Source: Publisher

Syn­op­sis:

THE SECOND MACHINE DYNASTY

Javier is a self-replicating humanoid on a jour­ney of redemption.

Javier’s quest takes him from Amy’s island, where his actions have dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences for his friend, toward Mecha where he will find either sal­va­tion… or death.

Excerpt (cour­tesy of Tor.com):

Javier had enjoyed his share of organic vir­gins. Because he was syn­thetic, they enjoyed him even more. His fail­safe meant that his mem­ory would cor­rupt and his mind would fry if he went too fast and hurt them too much. So he went slow. He tick­led. He teased. He got them wet and wild and wide. He made them want it more than they feared it. They called him atten­tive, thought­ful, car­ing. He called it self-preservation. And occa­sion­ally, he called it employment.

There was the girl on her way to Brown who’d never had time for a boyfriend what with all her over­achiev­ing. She met Javier in Mex­ico dur­ing “spring break,” which seemed to be some­thing her ther­a­pist had sug­gested. Her own sug­ges­tion was that she get the whole first time over with, already, so she could put her curios­ity to rest and just move on.

I think it’s bet­ter, this way,” she said. “I won’t be one of those girls who can never get over her first time. I won’t obsess over you. And you won’t obsess over me.”

Not after­ward, no,” he’d said. “But I think you’ll find that dur­ing the fes­tiv­i­ties, I can be quite the micro-managing dick.”

Con­tin­ued on Tor.com

Review:

This series started with vN which fol­lowed Amy, a robot made for the plea­sure of humans.  In Amy’s case, her owner treated her as a per­son and kept her inno­cent like a child as long as he could.  We are pre­sented with the idyl­lic set­ting of a human car­ing for a vN as if it were a human child and teach­ing it while it aged but didn’t grow, but Amy was an unusual case.  Most vN were cre­ated to do work for us, to be there for us in any and every way imag­in­able, and with a built-in fail­safe pre­vent­ing them from ever harm­ing us.  And when I say ‘every way imag­in­able’ that is the truth.  Most of the vN have been used by humans for their sex­ual plea­sure and do not know that not every­one wants to have sex with them.  In a way, even the ‘adult’ vN are like children. 

iD picks up where vN leaves off with Amy and Javier on the oasis Amy has cre­ated as a sanc­tu­ary for vN.  But soon the seclu­sion they have fought so hard for is destroyed and Javier is on his own search­ing for Amy.  Javier, unlike Amy, was not raised as a child loved by par­ents.  His father aban­dons him soon after Javier is iter­ated (how the vN repro­duce) and Javier finds him­self in jail.  From there he makes his way through life, iter­at­ing his sons, and strug­gling to pro­vide for him­self.  He learns that humans want him in sex­ual ways, and he uses that to his advantage.

After read­ing other reviews, I thought per­haps I was miss­ing some­thing while read­ing this book. How­ever, I think it’s that I am not as sen­si­tive as oth­ers to cer­tain top­ics.  The sex scenes depicted were not overly detailed or offen­sive and they served the pur­pose that the author intended by includ­ing them.

The author reveals much about the darker side of the human’s plans for the vN and while some will see these instances of sex and deprav­ity that made Javier who he is as gra­tu­itous, they are not.  They pro­vide an insight into the lives of the vN and makes you ques­tion not only your own reac­tions to the scenes, but also to ques­tion, can robots be human?  Do they feel like we do or is it only because we have pro­grammed them to? Are we tak­ing advan­tage of them or is it our right since we cre­ated them?
The book takes many aspects of robot and human coex­is­tence into ques­tion and while it seems to con­clude rather quickly, it draws out so many thought-provoking ides, that you hardly notice it’s over till you’re left want­ing to know more.
I highly rec­om­mend this for any­one who likes ‘what if’ sci­ence fic­tion books.  This isn’t hard­core sci­ence fic­tion, but it will cer­tainly make you won­der long after you fin­ish it.

 

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