Wednesday, May 28, 2008

REVIEW: 'We, Robots' by Sue Lange

Title: We, Robots
Author: Sue Lange
Price: $9
Genre: Science Fiction
ISBN: 978-1933500119
Point of Sale: Aqueduct Press

Aqueduct Press is a new small press, specializing in feminine science fiction. My first sampling of their publications was with Sue Lange’s new book We, Robots. It was a pleasant read.

We, Robots is a novella, running to only 98 pages, and is one of Aqueduct’s Press’s “Conversation Pieces.” The novella is about an AV-1 personal robot, purchased by a lower-income family at WalMart to help take care of their baby girl Angelina. The story is told in first person by the AV-1, called by his family “Avey,” and runs from Angelina’s first birthday to her entering high school.

Science fiction has a concept called “the Singularity” which is the idea that machines will become smarter than humans – so much smarter, in fact, that humans will be no longer needed. In Lange’s world as in today, most people aren’t worried about that. A small group of transhumanists, AKA “transies” are worried. They’ve incorporated machines into their bodies to keep up, and engineer a recall to install pain sensors into the robots. The idea is to prevent the robots from completely taking over. Instead, this action leads to the “Regularity” or the opposite of Singularity, in which the robots demand machines stop becoming more intelligent.

I have to admit it was an unusual take on the classic trope of “robots take over world.” I also found Avery’s personal development interesting and touching, especially contrasted to Angelina’s. Ms. Lange is an engaging writer, and shows a deft touch with the themes of this book.

From a technical perspective, the book itself is every bit as professional as anything from a large New York press. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Lange.


chrisChris Gerrib is a resident of Villa Park, IL and Director of Technology for a Chicago-area bank. Chris is the author of the science fiction novel The Mars Run. He holds degrees from the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University and is president-elect of the Rotary Club of Darien, IL.

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