Sunday, March 28, 2010

A.I. vs. Humans: Take One


Written by: Robin Wasserman

Released: September 9, 2008 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Summary: Lia Kahn was perfect: rich, beautiful, popular -- until the accident that nearly killed her. Now she has been downloaded into a new body that only looks human. Lia will never feel pain again, she will never age, and she can’t ever truly die. But she is also rejected by her friends, betrayed by her boyfriend, and alienated from her old life.
Forced to the fringes of society, Lia joins others like her. But they are looked at as freaks. They are hated...and feared. They are everything but human, and according to most people, this is the ultimate crime -- for which they must pay the ultimate price.

Admittedly, this book had me intrigued from the moment I saw the cover, read the tag line, and skimmed the summary. What I came to the conclusion of was that I thought that this was a very interesting topic for a book. I mean, artificial intelligence that encapsulates a human being and in every way is that person; memories being transferred and the possibility for a custom-made body. It’s like the fountain of youth breeding with a computer and this is what you get.

I thought that with this specific format, that a lot of today’s worldly issues were reflected and discussed. The separating line that divides real people from machines with a real person’s brain inside it can be transferred to so many political debates. The division of the rich and the poor, suburban areas from the cities, the haves from the have-nots; it’s all relevant to today even though this is supposed to be the near future.

The characters in this book are likeable enough but I couldn’t bring myself to like Lia all that much. I spent the majority of the book yelling at her to grow up, accept life, and move on to something better. I can’t believe that it took her almost the entire book to let go. Of course, I can imagine that it would be hard to do since her suddenly being forced into a mechanical body wasn’t her idea and the stigma that comes with it is something that she’s never had to deal with, but still. Lia’s ability to adapt must have died with her natural body and, like her new one, it was something that she had to teach herself to do.

Mostly I felt bad for the character Auden and his supreme normalness to today’s standards which left him in the past with those in the book. And, of course, the ending, but I’m not going to ruin that.

Plot-wise, I thought that this book was a little lacking. I just felt as though more could have been addressed. Still, for the first in a trilogy, I suppose that some things needed to be saved for the next two books.

Overall I’m giving this book a 6/10. While I did enjoy reading it, I still feel as though it could have pushed the limit just a little bit more than it did, especially for the first in a trilogy.

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