Tuesday, August 3, 2021
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vN: The First Machine Dynasty

064-1Author: Madeline Ashby

Amy Peterson is hungry. She’s been on a diet for as long as she can remember. Her parents want her to grow more human like. Even though it seems as if she is a normal kid, Amy Peterson is no ordinary kid. She is a von Neuman self replicating humanoid robot with a humanoid mother and a human father. Strange enough for you? Written by Madeline Ashby, it all seem so mundane when, in fact, it is really cool and out there weird.

At the book’s beginning, Amy’s life is typical. She gets up, has breakfast, goes to school, comes home and plays video games. Unexpectedly one day, Amy’s grandmother, Portia, arrives at her school kindergarten play and attacks her mother then kills one of her classmates. vNs are programmed with a Fail Safe-a mechanism that causes a robot to malfunction when a human is harmed. It is a built-in empathy button designed to have robots unconditionally love humans no matter what they do. But in Amy’s case, her Fail Safe never kicks in. So she eats her grandmother, and all turns to chaos.

Once captured and incarcerated, Amy finds out that she’s to be eliminated—her fail safe has malfunctioned. She’s dangerous. But she’s not alone. With Javier, her synthetic fugitive cellmate then rescuer, she breaks out of jail and lives life on the lam. Now with Portia in her head, Amy must dodge bounty hunters, hoping to rescue her jailed parents and take them to the legendary humanoid sanctuary, Mecha. Told from Amy’s perspective, we get the unique sense of life from a humanoid’s perspective. Ashby’s book is snappy, funny and original with a robot that is way more misbehaving that anything Philip Dick or Isaac Asimov could have created.

Available at Amazon.com in print from $6.24; also available in Kindle format.