"Autonomous is to biotech and AI what Neuromancer was to the Internet."—Neal Stephenson
"Something genuinely and thrillingly new in the naturalistic, subjective, paradoxically humanistic but non-anthropomorphic depiction of bot-POV—and all in the service of vivid, solid storytelling."—William Gibson
When anything can be owned, how can we be free
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?
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Everyone we know who’s read Autonomous has been completely sucked in, whether or not they consider themselves sci-fi readers. Annalee Newitz’s novel is full of big, strike-a-chord ideas about capitalism, bioengineering, AI, and free will. It’s also a page-turning, swashbuckling adventure story featuring Jack, a genetic engineer–turned–pirate who reproduces pharmaceutical drugs that most people can’t afford, and Paladin, the towering robot with a heart and a conscience who’s been charged with hunting her down.
In a phenomenal debut that's sure to garner significant awards attention, Newitz, cofounder of io9, sends three fascinating characters on an action-packed race against time through a strange yet familiar futuristic landscape. After pharmaceutical pirate Jack Chen's latest batch of reverse-engineered performance drugs proves dangerous and sometimes even fatal for the users, she sets out to rectify the damage by finding a cure and exposing the corrupt manufacturer who first developed the drug. As she dodges the authorities and agents of the International Property Coalition, she reconnects with figures from her checkered past and comes to terms with her role as an antipatent scientist-crusader. Meanwhile, the IPC agents on her tail have their own issues: human Eliasz and indentured robot Paladin are developing unexpected feelings for each other, with Paladin prompted to reconsider his gender identity, which may complicate their relentless search for Jack and her allies. Newitz laces her narrative with sincere explorations of free will, social accountability, corporate morality, and scientific responsibility. Jack's liaisons with lovers of various genders and Paladin's own gradual evolution contribute to a skillful inspection of attraction and identity that feels right at home in Newitz's fragmented, frenetic society.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The possible best way to end that book
This is an awesome read and totally worth putting your time towards. I don’t get a lot of alone/downtime, but when I did I would flip through a few pages at a time. One thing that captivated me were the detailed intros that seemingly immersed you into he world created by the author and grabbed your attention when the intro subsided into the main plot. Amazing book, really good succinct ending for a story that, even though there were clear evils in the story, the characters inherently felt human.
Decent, if flawed take on ai relationships with organics
The two stories told here, through alternating viewpoints between a fleeing female human pharma-hacker/rebel and the robotic killer with a human partner who pursue her, entertains in a pulpy, page turning dystopic way. It’s not going to blow your mind, not even as the robot and it’s human partner grow ‘close,’ and it does little to explore the concepts in much depth. But you’ll have a good time and that’s reason enough to buy it.
Bio-Punk and AI in a Gritty Plausible Future
Annalee Newitiz has created a near future where big pharma has an hold over most citizens due to intellectual property rights. Pirates make knock off drugs for profit and philanthropy. “Jack” is just such a pirate, operating her stealth submarine in the arctic oceans of a post-greenhouse world. Unfortunately, Jack pirated the wrong drug, and it is causing serious effects. Can she and her open-source friends find the cure before more people are harmed, or the deadly patent law-enforcement officers catch up with them?
“Autonomous” is a wild ride, showing us a future different from what many authors envision, but absolutely plausible given current technology and trends. It is a future where humans have developed robotics to a point where AI is commonplace. “Bots” have their own society, and they live, work, and suffer just like humans do. Both humans and bots seek to be autonomous, and this novel explores what this really means. It explores what it means to pursue one’s own goals, and how humans and bots determine what it is they really want.