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vN: The First Machine Dynasty (The Machine Dynasty Book 1)
 
 

vN: The First Machine Dynasty (The Machine Dynasty Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Madeline Ashby
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Review

Picks up where Blade Runner left off and maps territories Ridley Scott barely even glimpsed. (Philip K Dick would have been at home here, but Ashby's prose is better.) vN might just be the most piercing interrogation of humanoid AI since Asimov kicked it all off with the Three Laws --Peter Watts

vN did not disappoint. It is a fantastic adventure story that carries a sly philosophical payload about power and privilege, gender and race. It is often profound, and it is never boring --Cory Doctorow

Product Description

Amy Peterson is a von Neumann machine, 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.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Von Neumann Sisters | Fail Safe Fail | The Squid & the Swarm | Robot Nation ]

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"Ashby's debut is a fantastic adventure story that carries a sly philosophical payload about power and privilege, gender and race. It is often profound, and it is never boring." - Cory Doctorow

"Picks up where Blade Runner left off and maps territories Ridley Scott barely even glimpsed. vN might just be the most piercing interrogation of humanoid AI since Asimov kicked it all off with the Three Laws." - Peter Watts

VN fuses cyberpunk with urban fantasy to produce something wholly new. There's a heavy kicker in every chapter. Zombie robots, vampire robots, robots as strange and gnarly as human beings. A page-turning treat." - Rudy Rucker

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 409 KB
  • Print Length: 253 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Angry Robot; 1 edition (29 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008QZ1BHC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #129,576 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful characters and narrative 28 July 2012
By W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I've started and restarted this review about a half-dozen times. Not because I don't have anything to say about vN, because I assuredly do - when do I not? - but rather because I don't know where to start. There is so much to say about vN, from the characters to the basic premise, to the writing and the power of the story, it's hard to begin. So I'll jump in at the shallow end, my shallow end, and comment on the gorgeous cover. I'd already read the blurb for vN and I thought it sounded rather interesting and then I saw the cover and I knew I wanted to read it. How gorgeous is that cover?

The premise of vN, that of a humanoid robot whose fail safe against harming humans fails and her flight and consequent search for her identity and a place of safety, was intriguing from the get-go. The idea and execution of the von Neumann machines is amazing and utterly enthralling. I fell in love with their idea of self-replication, or iteration as it is called in the book. The fact that they are born with certain in-born traits and abilities, but can and will be taught other skills by their parent, plays with the idea of nature versus nurture. vN's aren't born as blank slates, they have certain things, such as their mother tongue or special vocational skills, programmed in, but have to be taught certain other facts of life, such as the failsafe. For the children from a human/vN relationship this means that a lot of their character can be imprinted not just by the vN parent, but by the human parent as well. However, the question remains whether vN children can develop their own characteristic regardless of programming and parenting, a question which I had to ask myself several times about Amy's development. Because Amy is definitely more than the sum of her parts, both physically and mentally.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bringing robots across as real people 1 Aug 2012
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
When you write a book with Robots as a central character you have to be very careful as they can come across as cold as well as impersonal which then makes them nigh impossible for the reader to associate with. What Madeline does with this book is bring out the human side as the principle character, Amy who is in Kindergarten when we meet her for the first time, brings this future world to the reader in not only an emotional way but on a journey of self-discovery that will have profound effects upon all involved.

Its wonderfully written, there's just the right amount of action to increase pace but the real discovery within is the changes that she makes as she gains experience of life on the run. Add to this solid prose, a great concept within and an overall arc that allows the reader to see the world though her eyes and all in this is a great release for a first time author. I'll definitely be reading more by Madeline in the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure, Perhaps Book two will be better. 5 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I don't know what to make of this book. It was ok I guess, Vague it parts, not so much in others. For example in one part of the story the male hero resuces the female hero. Both have been captured and just in the nick of time he is there to rescue her, but there is no explaination as to how he was planning on escaping, or how he does it during his escape, or even how he did it after the scene had past. All you got was he is suddenly there, made the rescue and the story moves on. It felt like the author had an idea and couldn't get the words down fast enough, so much so that she left bits out.
This is a constant theme through out the book. The discription of the areas they were in were lacking, and disjointed, for example, a scene would open explaining they where in a large building, as they traveled through the building you felt like you had missed a page or two as the scene changed. They had arrived at the building, no description of them entering it, but they suddenly on a bridge then the next thing they are in the ocean. What happened to the building? where did the bridge come from?
On the plus side I loved Amy, Javier, and Junior, Grandma was totaly nasty and you really wanted to see her get her come-uppance. It had its sad points and its exciting points. Over all I gave this book three stars maily due to its vagueness, and waiting for something to happen.
I will probably read the next book with a view of hoping that it is a better book
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Engrossing Sci Fi Debut 31 July 2012
Format:Paperback
Amy Peterson is a von Neumann machine, 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.

When we first meet Amy she is a five-year old child living with her human father and android mother. Her accelerated growth has been stunted to mimic that of a human child using a special diet that keeps her in a state of almost constant hunger. Everything seems idyllic in this perfect little family unit, but within a few short chapters it becomes evident that all is not as rosy as it appears from the outside. The unexpected appearance of Amy's grandmother acts as a catalyst to events and things quickly start to spiral out of control. In one of the novel's standout moments, Amy is transformed from a child into a young woman. This is what happens when you're a starving self-replicating android and you eat a relative. Forced to go on the run, Amy's world is turned upside down as she suddenly finds herself an unprepared child trapped in a grown up shell. Somehow she manages to retain an air of innocence, but this sets her at odds with the world around her.

On her travels Amy's constant companion is the electronic spirit/shadow of her grandmother, Portia.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars I can suspend belief pretty easy from most scifi but Ashby was asking...
I can suspend belief pretty easy from most scifi but Ashby was asking for too much. Her basic story idea is okay and the big details are fine but it is in the little things that... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Velo Mitrovich
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story
Of interest to lovers of robot & cyborg science fiction. Main theme is how artificial being can fit in to human society
Published 5 months ago by H. Martin
3.0 out of 5 stars Robot eats her own grandmother - shock!
Amy is a robot. Amy eats grandmother. Nice touch.

Amy goes on the run. Amy gets attacked. Amy fights back. Amy gets captured. Amy gets rescued. Loop. Read more
Published 5 months ago by William C. Powell
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story; bit slow
I did enjoy this story, but is was very slow. I was left feeling that it could have been told in far less pages and still had the same effect. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mr. G. J. Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
A whole new look on AI, realy enjoyed the science, fell in love with the characters.

Brilliant, going to read the next asap.
Published 14 months ago by Nick Sherriff
3.0 out of 5 stars Glass half full ...
I have had vN on my reading pile for a few months now, and decided to finally crack it open after a good run so far of reading and being wonderfully surprised by Angry Robot's... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Lisa (Over The Effing Rainbow)
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concepts
A good read with some novel ideas. Kept me interested throughout. Passed it on to my nephew who is equally enjoying it.
Published 18 months ago by Mr. S. Hall
4.0 out of 5 stars Robots rebel
vN: The First Machine Dynasty
Author: Madeline Ashby
Publisher: Angry Robot
Page count/size: 332pp
Release Date: 29 July 2012
Reviewer: Steve Jones... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Ms. Theresa M. Derwin
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting insight into a robotic future where humans and robots...
I haven't read much sci-fi before but this captured my interest a I read it quickly. A little romantic in places, maybe because it's written by a female author, I don't know. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mistressweb
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Sci Fi with a heart
As a reader of hard Sci Fi, VN just about keeps a grip on 'real' science to present a future with sentient AI's living amongst us. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Oolong
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