Title: Robot Evolution
Author: Ann Christy
Published: March 15, 2016
Note: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. Receipt of a review copy does not guarantee a review, or have any bearing on the review if one is posted. I only reviews books that I recommend.
Welcome to the World of Perfect Partners, Incorporated!
Step into the world of sentient androids. Humans no longer have to woo a human mate or wait for that perfect match…they simply order their heart’s desire and live life to the fullest. Called PePrs – say it like pepper, the spice – they have become indispensable to humanity. They do the jobs we don’t want to do, act as our windows to the wider world, fill all our social needs, and have become the expressions of our collective will. From the battlefield to the dog pound, from our perfect mate to the nanny that cares for our children…almost every task can now be done by a PePr, leaving humans to explore a life free of drudgery.
It sounds perfect. Then again, things that start perfect don’t usually stay that way.
Each of the novellas in this volume is a stand-alone work. There are no cliff-hangers, but there might be tears, gasps, and smiles. Who will you root for? Human or PePr…choose your side!
Ann Christy is a tried-and-true author for me. I reviewed Strikers a few months ago, and I read the original PePr, Inc story in The Robot Chronicles. I love going into a book confident that I will like it. That’s a rare thing for a picky–uhm, I mean discerning–reader like me.
Characterization and badassery
Such lovely characterization. The premise of the PePr series of short stories is the idea of robots who were designed to serve humans. Then the robots develop emotions. It’s a vehicle for exploring the human condition from both sides of the species line. There is sweetness and tragedy, with an overall feeling of aspiration and tentative hope.
It’s the ability to survive and adapt that is tough in these characters. They aren’t violent, but they are strong, in the best way that a being can be strong.
Plot and pacing
Each story has its own plot, and is unrelated to the others except for the overall theme. Each story has its focus, and provides a new vignette into the PePr situation. That’s part of what I like about this book. You get multiple facets of the same situation, which is so true to life. It can be difficult to really comprehend a subject until you see it from different points of view, being lived out in various situations. That aspect adds a layer of humanity that really packs some punch.
The only part of the book that dragged for me was the last story, Posthumous. The flashbacks within a dream-state made the story stretch out in an elongated way that didn’t completely satisfy like the other stories did. It was a good story, to be sure, but the structure of it wasn’t completely effective for my reading preference. I’m one of those people who never reads prologues, and skips dream sequences.
Prose and editing
Both very good. Straightforward prose, and I only caught a couple niggly typo errors, which is to be expected in an ARC book. Actually, it’s pretty excellent for an ARC copy.
Just a tiny bit of amusement here and there. An effective use of humor for stories that are already so chock-full of poignant emotion.