Author: Annalee Newitz
Rate: 2/5 | Goodreads
From love for the book, to bitter taste in my mouth, all in one paragraph. Such was my experience with “Autonomous” by Annalee Newitz. If you don’t want spoilers, I’ll mark down the spoiler part of my opinion below.
About the Book: Simplifying, big pharma patents medications so there’s no alternatives, thus making it so only the rich elite can live long happy lives. Jack is utterly fed up by this, and so she goes into pirate business: reverse engineering medications and making them available via black market. But here’s the problem. Due to those medicines being used and abused only by such a small percentage of the population, a lot of side effects were unknown until it leaked down to public. And so there’s deaths of people who took a drug that’d make them enjoy their work more, need for extensive rehabilitation because their brain is so very hard rewired towards what gave them their fix of dopamine, the drug itself is no longer of consequence. And even though Jack didn’t create the drug, only made it public, a military bot with his partner is sent after her to detain or kill. Military bot, known as Paladin, is on fresh contract, due to being freshly manufactured, making him essentially a slave for the next ten or more years to cover the cost of his making. But things already are growing complicated between him and his homophobic partner who is the first kind person to Paladin.
My Opinion: No Spoilers – Paladin and his partner are falling in love, but his partner is absolutely stupid, and they both decide it’s better to internalize old hurts than work towards healing, making their whole relationship nasty; Now SPOILERS: bots don’t have a gender, and the only reason Paladin is known as a “he” is because he’s a military bot, and those are perceived in such a way due to their bulk and form. But given a choice of: sleep with partner – YES if woman; NO if man; Paladin makes a choice to assume a female identity. Because his partner, even having to fight random boners Paladin’s presence is inducing in him, is homophobic due to old hurts. He uses derogatory slurs, and the fact he’s falling for a sexless person with nothing but personality present, and not much of that one either – doesn’t matter. Must be a woman or I’m gay, and I can’t be a f-. Nobody cares to correct him, to help him. Nobody cares to correct or help Paladin either. They’re just let loose to lie to each other because they’re in love. Paladin is extremely enabling of him, and, in my opinion, solely because that man was the first kind man who treated Paladin as a person.
The book, otherwise pretty interesting, felt icky. I can’t give it more than 2 out of 5, for I don’t like books that teach shitty lessons. Yes, kids, internalize your feelings, and pretend to be something you’re not for the person you love, even if they clearly have some kind of unresolved issue that could be resolved, and you both could grow as people, benefiting from this gift we have called speech.