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iD (The Machine Dynasty Book 2)

iD (The Machine Dynasty Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Madeline Ashby
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Javier is a self-replicating humanoid on a journey of redemption.

Javier’s quest takes him from Amy’s island, where his actions have devastating consequences for his friend, toward Mecha where he will find either salvation… or death.

File Under: Science Fiction [ vN2 | Island in the Streams | Failsafe No More | The Stepford Solution ]

About the Author

Madeline Ashby grew up in a household populated by science fiction fans. She graduated from a Jesuit university in 2005, after having written a departmental honors thesis on science fiction. After meeting Ursula K. LeGuin in the basement of the Elliott Bay Book Company that year, she decided to start writing science fiction stories. She has been published in Tesseracts, Flurb, Nature, Escape Pod and elsewhere. Currently, she works as a strategic foresight consultant in Toronto.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 460 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (24 Jun 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #207,960 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars it works 28 Dec 2013
By jezdj
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well written - not Iain Banks but I never cringed, yawned or corrected - which sounds like faint praise but anyone who reads much sci fi knows it is not - and they should read it. The story moves along well the back references to the previous book are cleverly handled. Javier is likeable and interesting and never gross - there's a lot of sex yet it doesn't titilate, it tells the story and makes you explore the issues. Excellent sci fi writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada TOP 1000 REVIEWER
vN was one of my favourite debuts for 2012, only beaten out by Tanya Byrne's Heart-Shaped Bruise. I loved Amy's story and the world Ashby created. I was looking forward to returning to the world and seeing how the developments of the last book would echo through this one.

While iD is just as great as vN, it's the complete polar opposite of its predecessor. vN dealt with the child-like and innocent Amy who was forced to grow up fast, while Javier is far more adult, though younger in actual years than Amy. As a consequence, where vN might even have been marketed as a crossover novel, iD is definitely for adults, as Javier's story clearly investigates the less savoury side of people's connections to vN, with large roles for Jonah Lemarque and the son he victimised.

After the events of vN, Javier, Amy and his kids have settled down with other vN on what is just known as 'the island', the heap of electronic waste material Amy is able to control and mould into a habitable place. We pick up the story from here, but this time the story is told from Javier's point of view. We learn of his past, of how he was forced to grow up fast, how his dad abandoned him in a prison and how he got out. I found his story fascinating, because despite all that had happened to him, Javier remains a hopeful character, always striving to create a better future for himself and the ones he loves. Also interesting to see how he experiences failsaving, the shorting-out that happens to vN when they either commit or see violence against a human being. The fact that he shorts out on Amy, asks interesting questions about what makes one human. The one fundamental difference between Amy and other vN is her broken failsafe, which in essence means that she's regained free will.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but no-where as good as the first 20 April 2014
By Oolong
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was expecting so much more of this book, after Ashby's dazzling debut. Whereas her first in this series had the correct balance between hard sci fi, magna influence and good old fashioned story telling, this 2nd in the series was one for the hard core fans rather than the general reader.

I'll be back for the 3rd in the series, no doubt, but this one went off the rails too many times, and the story wondered off the track too many times. By the end of the book we were all on track for book 3, but I wish she had given us a more enjoyable journey....
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5.0 out of 5 stars spectacular 6 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After the first book, I was curious to see where the author took this one. I was also somewhat apprehensive, it could easily have been more of the same. I needn't have worried - it is a spectacular read, very interesting and incredibly well written. I'll be looking out for more in future.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can robots be human? Do they feel like we do or is it only because we have programmed them to? 13 July 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
This series started with vN which followed Amy, a robot made for the pleasure of humans. In Amy's case, her owner treated her as a person and kept her innocent like a child as long as he could. We are presented with the idyllic setting of a human caring for a vN as if it were a human child and teaching it while it aged but didn't grow, but Amy was an unusual case. Most vN were created to do work for us, to be there for us in any and every way imaginable, and with a built-in failsafe preventing them from ever harming us. And when I say 'every way imaginable' that is the truth. Most of the vN have been used by humans for their sexual pleasure and do not know that not everyone wants to have sex with them. In a way, even the 'adult' vN are like children.

iD picks up where vN leaves off with Amy and Javier on the oasis Amy has created as a sanctuary for vN. But soon the seclusion they have fought so hard for is destroyed and Javier is on his own searching for Amy. Javier, unlike Amy, was not raised as a child loved by parents. His father abandons him soon after Javier is iterated (how the vN reproduce) and Javier finds himself in jail. From there he makes his way through life, iterating his sons, and struggling to provide for himself. He learns that humans want him in sexual ways, and he uses that to his advantage.

After reading other reviews, I thought perhaps I was missing something while reading this book. However, I think it's that I am not as sensitive as others to certain topics. The sex scenes depicted were not overly detailed or offensive and they served the purpose that the author intended by including them.
The author reveals much about the darker side of the human's plans for the vN and while some will see these instances of sex and depravity that made Javier who he is as gratuitous, they are not. They provide an insight into the lives of the vN and makes you question not only your own reactions to the scenes, but also to question, can robots be human? Do they feel like we do or is it only because we have programmed them to? Are we taking advantage of them or is it our right since we created them?
The book takes many aspects of robot and human coexistence into question and while it seems to conclude rather quickly, it draws out so many thought-provoking ides, that you hardly notice it's over till you're left wanting to know more.
I highly recommend this for anyone who likes 'what if' science fiction books. This isn't hardcore science fiction, but it will certainly make you wonder long after you finish it.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars the only thing humans want from robots is gay sex? 16 Oct 2013
By Jerome M - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read the two books in this series. They provide interesting ideas which i liked, i liked the robot psychology and playing out of scenarios of how humans and robots would interact. I have a problem with it in that the only goal of i think just about every human character is to have sex with robots, usually gay sex or sex with robots that simulate children. This was not as bad in the first book which i would rate four stars for interesting ideas. However, in the second book the whole book is about the main character trying to avoid humans having gay sex; getting raped in the beginning and getting into a sugar daddy relationship later. I can somewhat excuse this in that while it may not be true in a big picture, perhaps this can be true in a single individual's narrative. I still did not find it believable. I also did not find the world so believable as you have these machines made from self replicating nanobots but nothing else is, how can you have this fantastic technology and all it is used for is these robots? It should have effects on all technology. Also lots of Deus Ex Machina, he is constantly being rescued by powerful AI beings manipulating and pulling him out of trouble.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so good 31 Oct 2013
By Randall - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This book has potential but there are chunks of the story missing. Its hard to follow and the sexual content is just gross. Like scifi nerd porn gross. Shame since the idea is sound.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars meh 11 Dec 2013
By C. Kirby - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought the plot was pretty meandering and disconnected. This book frustrated me in a way I don't remember vN doing. Sounds like there's another sequel coming. Hopefully it'll flow a little better.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A male sidekick who's AI and can also get pregnant 26 July 2013
By A. McNeil - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I was really excited for the second book in this series about ai written by a woman author. I love getting to see scifi topics like ai explored from a woman's perspective. So I was a bit disappointed to have the story shift focus from a woman in the first book (Amy) to a man in the second (Javier).

Ripping Amy out from under us is an interesting choice. On the one hand, I appreciate series that switch perspectives like this because we get to see more of the world of the novel and gain a clearer understanding of it. On the other hand, part of why I liked the series to begin with was that we were seeing a powerful female robot for once. So I was skeptical about this choice at first. Ultimately, however, the perspective switch worked for me because it basically is following the hero's sidekick when the hero is decommissioned. It's still interesting to see the gender swap happening in the sidekick. It's also interesting because although Javier is male, he's also a robot with a failsafe, so he is more akin to an enslaved person than to a humanoid free male. It's interesting but it saddens me that this perspective makes it seem like things like trading sex for travel are the only options for people in that situation. Sex is power, yes, but it's not the only tool women have available to them. I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that the book seems to be saying that anyone in that situation, regardless of gender, would use these resources because they have to. I can see not having a lot of choices. And I can understand having to choose to do something you don't morally want to do because the end result is so needed. But I would expect to see a lot of soul searching and thought process behind that choice because it is still a choice. Javier doesn't seem to do much choosing or thinking, and I think that's not a fair representation of what it actually is like to be a woman. We still have choices, and because it's not always easy to do precisely what we want to do, what choice we make takes more thoughtfulness, if anything. There's not always a good choice available. But there are always choices. I would like to have seen Javier doing more thinking and choosing between different difficult choices rather than seeing himself as having to do X to get to Z.

The world building is still strong in this book. Instead of being stuck on an island for the whole time, the events in the beginning of the book allow us to see much of the world, not just America, through the eyes of Javier. There is, unfortunately, quite a bit of confusion in the world at this time so it's difficult to understand precisely what is going on or how the world got to this place. I believe this is just the situation that is typical of a second book in a series (or the third book in the trilogy), so I expect a lot of the confusion to clear up in the third book. If anything the mystery increased with this book, which is not a bad thing.

Overall, this book builds further on the world presented in vN through the eyes of Amy's male sidekick, Javier. Some of the precise effects of the gender swapping and queering of gender in the robots isn't as well thought-out as it could be but this does not detract from the interesting perspective on artificial intelligence presented by Ashby. Fans of the first book should hold out beyond the first couple of chapters and give Javier a chance as our guide through the world. The perspective he brings is still unique to the world of ai scifi.
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