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Autonomous Audiobook

Autonomous: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

From award winning tech-journalist and io9 founder Annalee Newitz comes a highly anticipated science fiction debut!

Autonomous will pull listeners into a dark and dirty world that feels, at times, a bit too familiar.

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?

©2017 Annalee Newitz (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (143 )
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3.9 (132 )
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4.2 (132 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Mediocre Gatsby Indonesia/Michigan 10-18-17
    Mediocre Gatsby Indonesia/Michigan 10-18-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Couldn't disagree more with these other reviewers"

    I am a huge science fiction nerd, and I really, really hated this book. The narrator was solid, but man, the writing was just lame. Felt like it was adult subject matters but written for young teens.

    The first science fiction audiobook I was unable to complete, despite the short length, and returned.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Kissing 10-16-17
    T. Kissing 10-16-17 Member Since 2016
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    "interesting world, but LGBT+ topic unsatisfactory"

    I want to like this book, because I want to see more stories in this world, but the way the relationship between Palladin and Elias is "resolved" just gives me a weird vibe. Elias is basically rewarded for being a homophobe?!
    Not saying "don't read this", but if you care about LGBT+ representation, you might be disappointed.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Strephon Springfield, VA, USA 10-16-17
    Strephon Springfield, VA, USA 10-16-17 Member Since 2011
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    "Soon to be a Major Motion Picture"

    Fast-paced and smart without losing depth or miring the listener in an inaccessible discourse of artificial intelligence, big pharma, or IT.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael G Kurilla ROCKVILLE, MD, United States 10-15-17
    Michael G Kurilla ROCKVILLE, MD, United States 10-15-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Drug lord Robin Hood with robotic romance"

    Autonomous by Annalee Newitz starts with a simple premise, a woman with a drug manufacturing capability who produces counterfeit expensive drugs to support her passion for making other life-saving drugs for poor people. At the same time, law enforcement partners, one who happens to be a robot are tracking Ms Robin Hood who has reverse engineered a new drug that happens to have some serious side effects such as killing people.

    The main story is set a bit over 100 years into the future with occasional flashbacks about 25 years earlier. The main sci-fi elements amount to sophisticated drug development and manufacturing capabilities as well as advanced robots. Unfortunately, the basic premise of intellectual property, i.e. patents as the source of the problems of the day is a bit overdone and suggest someone with little background in this area. If the world were as described, then somehow in the intervening years, patents were changed to have infinite lifetimes and somehow, the world has allowed itself to fall under a single set of patent laws.

    Law enforcement is also a bit loose with official investigators murdering any and all witnesses they question and staging suicide scenes. Also, pharma companies don't need to worry about bad drugs as "rich" people who can afford their drug can also afford medical care, but why they wouldn't just sue the pants off big pharma seems ignored. Also, if a single woman in a submarine can manufacture enough drugs to save small, poor countries from health care disasters, it begs the question why poor countries can't establish their own manufacturing facilities in submarines. Another bizarre aspect to this society is that at some point, intelligent robots were emancipated or could be become "autonomous", but at the same time, in some wired way it made sense that if robots could be autonomous, then humans could also become indentured as slaves to be bought and sold. This creates situations where humans are bought and sold for cheap labor, while robots can earn PhDs. Lastly, a lack of inside knowledge on the drug development process produces a situation where the mechanism of action of a dangerous drug is studied, an antidote is fashioned, tested on one mouse, and then the formula uploaded for doctors in hospitals to use in only five days.

    Between the questionable ethics of making drugs for recreational abuse to support making life-saving drugs and robots struggling with gender identity issues and romantic feelings, the tale feels like an artificial world that doesn't quite make enough sense to exist. There is no attempt to offer how this transition occurred.

    The narration is reasonably good, but with barely adequate character, especially gender discrimination making following conversations difficult at times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Ming 10-14-17
    Ming 10-14-17 Member Since 2006
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    "Interesting premise with a weird romantic subplot"

    It's unfortunate that we live in an age of hyperbole...while Autonomous is most definitely not the next Neuromancer, it is a fairly decent first attempt at science fiction.

    The dystopian future setting with widespread genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, and very strong patent enforcement is interesting, but I feel that Newitz doesn't quite do enough with it. I found the world-building aspects of Autonomous to be the most fun part of the book but the characters and overall plot line failed to keep me invested or engaged. I ultimately found the characters to be nearly hollow caricatures (with the exception of a particular biobot) since we aren't given enough to truly root for or despise anyone. Instead of feeling connected, I simply felt like a passive observer.

    The thing that bugged me the most about this book is probably its romantic twist. While gender identity might be something that is hotly debated today, the world of Autonomous has already been set up by Newitz to be comfortable and even mildly accepting of the relationship she poses. It felt like a lot of effort was put into a plot point that lacked punch.

    Overall, Autonomous is pretty interesting and moderately entertaining, and while it isn't exactly great, you could do much worse.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Karen B. Gabriel 10-10-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Boring!"

    Only book I really wanted to return--reader adds nothing and story is so slow, I kept losing interest

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William G Carrig 10-10-17
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    "I was expecting greatness..."

    First, let me say that I made it about two or three hours into the book before I gave up on it. So this is not a review based on the entire story. The narrator was not very animated and the narration droned. Monotonic does not describe it but comes very close. The authors fetish for bio-degradation was irritating after two or three hours. It seemed like she picked up on a buzz word and had to use every chance she had. Recycling would have made more sense in the future time frame this story is in. With bio-degradation you lose the materials. With recycling you save them and can reuse them. Her tech was at times perplexing. She can sequence a molecule and reproduce it exactly, but she has to painstakingly verify the molecule by direct observation? That makes no sense. If you have equipment that can do the analysis and synthesis, it surely can make a comparison for you. They have AI that can run human form robots but it can't run lab equipment? All in all, very disappointing. Just because a story takes place in the future, that doesn't make it science fiction. I am a science fiction snob. I like my science fiction to have actual science in it. Unless it is campy science fiction movies from the mid 20th century. Those are pretty awesome all on their own. The way this book was hyped I thought it was going to stand among the likes of Bradbury, Clarke or Heinlein. It is not. Not even close.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Andy Crawford Beaver Dam, KY 10-05-17
    Andy Crawford Beaver Dam, KY 10-05-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Thourally enjoyed it"

    It’s got some slower periods, but the story is fair and presents a unique view of the future and a unique set of issues to plague the characters. It also has you to empathize with the warring sides. It’s a good listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    James 10-04-17
    James 10-04-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Gender, love, awkward Robot sex"

    This book is basically about gender in the future and slavery. with some future stuff happening in the background. it's not bad but it's not great either. 😐

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Chase Winters 10-04-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Robot porn"

    This was a pretty decent book. It has some fun elements to it, and in places the story gets very engaging. But I found myself wanting to just skip forward to the next chapter several times. I especially wasn't a fan of the "sex scenes" between robot and man. I didn't care much for the narrator either, honestly I felt as though I was actually listening to a robot read the story- she had a very monotone voice, especially for the male characters. Who knows though, maybe this was by design since it is a story that centers around a robot.

    Overall I wouldn't highly recommend the book, but I could see how some people would really enjoy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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