Wow. I loved this book. I'm not entirely sure how I found it - I suspect Amazon randomly recommended it to me, and it was definitely a random purchase - but so glad I did.
I'd just finished reading Snow Crash which has a small character which is an enhanced dog (called a Rat), and a few years back I'd read We3 which has animals who escape a tyranny of human kind…so I think I was expecting something like that. I was wrong!
The book opens from the point of view of Rex, a "bioform" dog - part machine, part dog, part human DNA. The first few pages read as a little trite "I am Rex. I am Good Dog" etc - but this quickly falls away as I realised the darkness of what was being described from Rex's point of view.
Then each chapter is told from different individuals point of view, including Hart - the engineer/carer for the bioforms, Honey - a bioform Bear and many other characters.
The story is split over 5 parts that, I can assume, is covering several years. It starts in a war torn country, but once this part is over, the story goes on to raise the question of the bioform's rights, and whether a human-made thing can be human if it can feel for itself. By human, we mean the condition rather than the species.
The story is a mix of the future of AI and augmented lifeforms, fear of different, corporations and their relationship with slavery - and through it, somehow, the protagonist is a dog that I can actually relate to as he even evolves through the book (the author does a brilliant job of evolving Rex's language and vocabulary as Rex is exposed to more of the world and the story moves on).
Other thoughts that this book brought up for me:
- If humankind make a thing and a thing can think for itself, should it have rights? What does that process look like - and how long does it take?
- Can and should humankind survive in it's current state. Is an augmented human less or more human?
- A fully autonomous intelligence is effectively immortal, so it can also outlive generations of humankind until the generations come to accept it?
If you're interested in how technology can evolve in our future with AI, singularities, and the like, then I'd definitely recommend this book.
I loved this story, really great stuff!
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