Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Book Review: Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

Title: Autonomous
Author: Annalee Newitz
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: 19 September 2017
Pages: 303
Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: Sci-Fi
Source: ARC via NetGalley



Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can’t otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane. Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair: Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack’s drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understand. And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned? (Goodreads Synopsis)


Previously I had read and liked an excerpt of Autonomous on NetGalley, so when I saw the full book listed, I had to request it. Overall I found the story enjoyable, so I'm sticking to my 4-star rating. The world building was good and the characters came across as three-dimensional and engaging. I also really enjoyed the story premise, looking at ideas such as intellectual (and physical) property. The only things that let it down for me, reading on from before, were: 1) Pacing--after a slower start, the end felt a little rushed; and 2) I wondered if Newitz would have done better to stick to just one message. In dividing page space between the debates on intellectual property and autonomy, both discussions felt somehow incomplete at the end. Even so, if you enjoy thought-provoking sci-fi that still includes plenty of action, Autonomous is the book for you.

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