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vN nuts and bolts

The swell chaps at Angry Robot Books (AKA my publishers) have posted the premise of vN:

Amy Peterson is a self-replicating humanoid robot.

For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother’s past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks her mother, little Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive.

Now she carries her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive, and she’s learning impossible things about her clade’s history – like the fact that the failsafe that stops all robots from harming humans has failed… Which means that everyone wants a piece of her, some to use her as a weapon, others to destroy her.

If that premise interests you, the book is now available for pre-order.

True to form, I had no idea about either of these links until I learned about them from my mom and Twitter. (In college, I almost never looked at my grades. I charted my progress by how my papers were marked. Since my participation and attendance were never a problem, I knew my papers should be my focus. I didn’t know my GPA until I got the little note telling me I was graduating magna cum laude.) I guess I should set up a Google Alert, but I’m so easily distracted already…

…anyway, I really like how the guys described the novel’s premise. I tend to have trouble with that kind of thing, and I’ve watched other people’s eyes glaze over as I try explaining what the book is about. “It’s more exciting than it sounds,” I usually say. “There’s cannibalism. Machine cannibalism. And bounty hunters. And stuff.”

But what I really like about the way the premise is described here is the way it nails down the protagonist’s dynamic within her family. At a recent holiday party, I explained to someone that for me, vN is all about understanding the decisions that we have no say in, but still shape us years later.  The programming bugs left behind by the last dev team. The things our grandparents said that we echo, unwittingly, decades later. Self-replicating machines, von Neumann devices, are a good metaphor for re-considering that history.

Also, I really love robots. Especially killer robots.

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