Book Review: VN

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VN The First Machine Dynasty, by Madeline Ashby

I adore sci-fi and the world it creates, ever since I saw Star Wars for the first time with my Dad I was hooked. The love affair continued throughout my life, I became a Star Trek fan, fell in love with Planet of the Apes, then I found Dune and things changed again.

Enough with the background, while looking for a new novel I googled “novels like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep“, I found two novels which caught my eye and I then bought them straight away, Neuromancer and VN.

I like Neuromancer but it’s not the easiest to read. I then started VN after hearing so many comparisons to Blade Runner, and I was blown away reading it. The book is about a family, the mother is a robot (or a VN as the book calls them) the father a human and the daughter a VN, Amy, our protagonist. VN are self replicating robots, and they call these replicas their children (or iterations) The book starts off with the life of such a mixed family, then during her kindergarten graduation they’re attacked by Amy’s grandmother Portia, who kills a child and sets her sights on her daughter and is then eaten by Amy, this causes a major uproar as all VN are programmed with a failsafe that stops keep killing and keeps them subservient/loving humans and Amy’s has definitely broken and even worse her grandmother is now partitioned inside her. While on the run she meets Javier who has a ton of iterations and was then arrested for having too many. When I say the fail safe makes them love humans, they actually can’t say no to sexual intercourse. The pair quickly become friends and they go on a journey to stop Amy’s psycpathic grandmother taking control, and we are introduced to Javiers iterations and they’re a really fun bunch.

It’s an interesting that concept that had me hooked straight away, this book is a massive page turner, I’ve seen a lot of media now about robots who can think and are somewhat sentient and I would definitely rate this highly among those. If you were to compare it to anything it would be the Blade Runner universe, the VN could be the next level of Nexus Replicants, if you’re a fan I sci fi you’ll see references to other franchises everywhere and you’re mileage may vary on this. Does it take you out of a story if during VN you read of the “Electric Sheep Bar” that sells a drink called “Tears in the Rain” or in the sequel a character uses the code name Ricardo Montalban. It touches on a lot of ideas but it never feels like an overload. Pedophilia, rape, sentience of AI, mixed familes, family in general and whether we can fight out programming.

VN is an easy recommendation, at 326 pages it’s neither too short nor too long, a gripping sci fi novel that may have an iffy ending but there sequel has been available for months, and I’m almost done with that.

On the Goro scale of 1,2,3 or 4 thumbs up, its a 3 out of 4.

(That is Goro the four armed Mortal Kombat character)

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