iD

iD
Madeleine Ashby
Angry Robot Books

I found the ideas behind iD really fascinating. In this somewhat dystopian vision of a world of vN’s – robots who look and function like humans – Madeleine Ashby has suggested a very different solution to keeping robots in their place than Isaac Asimov did with his Three Laws. Ashby’s solution is the failsafe. If a robot hurts a human or witnesses a human being hurt, the failsafe kicks in and the robot is destroyed. The trouble is that the failsafe allows humans to manipulate vN’s in very unhealthy ways.

This book picks up where vN left off. While it is possible to read it as a stand alone book, I would recommend reading the first book to fill in the cast of characters. Many of the plot points back to the first book with little or no explaination. It is like siting down in the second half of a movie and trying to pick up the pieces of the plot. It is possible, but it gets in the way of really enjoying the book.

One thing that readers should be aware of is that there is a lot of sex and sex talk in the book. It isn’t gratuitous, but if you are uncomfortable with sex in all its varieties, you should avoid iD.

I enjoyed the story, in spite of the feeling that I’d parachuted into the middle of the story. The characters are richly drawn and engaging. The author pays us the compliment of not dumbing down the computer and technical stuff and her system holds together well.
I’d recommend iD for fans of hard scifi and those of a more sociological outlook.

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