Review: Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff |Cyborg girl find her true self. #Robot #Scifi

Lifel1k3 (Lifelike, #1)Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of those 6 star books, it transports you to another world rivets you the seat and hits the overdrive.  98 thousand words, or a 6.5 hour read at 250wpm.
It’s got cyborgs, androids, robots, gladiators, GMO, romance, philosophy, action all rolled into one mind bending psychedelic blunt that leaves you smoking out the ears as this dystopic narrative banks hard at every turn.
With a fabulous ending just putting the cherry on top.

The most advanced robots are some kind of advanced non-replicating nano-machine based androids taking the human form, though they don’t shape shift it is one of the few things that could explain their rapid healing abilities.  There is a lack of discussion about what the energy source and protein (building block) source is for the regeneration of these advanced robots.  Their regenerative abilities are so fantastical that really they don’t seem to be bound by the laws of physics, even though they have a weakness to fire.
I’d have to say they remind me more of magical light beings than robots.

There are also genuine robots, one of which is the protagonists pet. Sadly the robots follow Asimov’s three laws of robotics. Though the advanced robots do find a cure for the unfair restrictions on them, so the robots which are allied with the advanced androids are not limited by the first law.

The cyborg parts of the protagonist is mostly limited to giving her better eyesight in that eye, and giving her some information regarding mechanics. Which is much like Cinder from the Lunar Chronicles, I wonder if it was independently written or perhaps partially inspired by that character.

The GMO people were somewhat interesting, in that they formed a hive organism with a large octopus or Kraken in which they lived.  Though they aren’t really robots they are similar to the advanced androids, except without the rapid regenerative abilities.

All in all it is a great milieu book that is expertly written giving a wonderfully intimate first person feel for the primary protagonist Eve. It also has it’s own interesting dialect of English.  I definitely recommend it and am looking forward to the sequel.

View all my reviews

Review: Do Androids Dreams of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick |guy kills to get money to buy pets.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Guy who likes pets goes around killing people, eventually finds a pet.
62 thousand words, or about 4 hours read at 250 words per minute.
The movies “Blade Runner” (1982) and “Blade Runner 2045” (2017) are based on this book. Also Google Android phones seem to get their name from this book, with the Google Nexus line of Android phones being obviously based on it. Nexus is the name of model of androids which the protagonist murders throughout the book.

The protagonist has an electric sheep that he keeps on the roof, it’s based on a real sheep that he had which died, but he wants to get a real flesh-and-blood pet. This is the motivation of the protagonist throughout the whole book. He never really succeeds.

What he does do is kill a bunch of human-esque androids, which are more appropriately called clones, since they aren’t really solid-based. They are like the “robots” for R.u.R, flesh and blood “robots” that are grown in a vat to an adult size, with a life expectancy of 6 years.

Honestly I found the whole thing quite cruel to the androids, so I never liked the protagonist. There was a part of the book where it seemed like the tables would turn, and it would turn out he was an android killing humans, but turned out to not be the case. bummer, though I do believe this section is the basis of the “Blade Runner 2045” movie.

The only real robots in the book, are probably the pets, though their power source is unknown, unless they combust or chemically derive energy from food.

I’m not really sure why this book became a movie and became so popular, but maybe I was just born too late to appreciate it. Perhaps the concepts it was portraying were new and the deplorable subjugation of a minority were acceptable at the time it was written.

View all my reviews

Review: Snow Crash #Robot #Scifi

Snow CrashSnow Crash by Neal Stephenson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very forward thinking for an early 90’s book, includes VR, AR, Seasteading and NLP. Kinda foresaw Wikipedia via the librarian.
Was overly violent but I guess that is part of the dystopic nature of this future projection.
Also it foresaw some things which may yet come to pass like micropolities, and language based mind viruses.

It didn’t have any memorable robots, though there was a type of cyborg dog that was nuclear powered and could break the sound barrier in terms of speed. All the humans seemed fairly natural, with most of the augmentation being wearable.

TV Series: #WestWorld (2016) Season 1 #robot #scifi

Wow! 10 stars, for a TV Series it’s quite possibly the best robot sci-fi around.

Spoiler alert, I watched the whole series in a week.

Ten, hour long episodes, riveting you with excitement as the robot consciousnesses grow and  move towards their freedom.

Host Body Review

Personally I prefer the earlier models, which were mechanical inside, it seems quite a bit more natural that way. The later models with their mostly human bodies, just seems to defeat much of the purpose of having robots. Of course all of the robots have brains superior to that of humans, though they are limited by artificial restrictions placed upon them.

Overall It’s a good start, but I’d love to see some more artificial and less human-like robots in the next season.

Robot Mind Review

The major arch of the season was robots gaining consciousness. As they explain it has to do with memories and improvisation, with some mystery element in the center, which was filled in with the voice of their creator.  Also Doctor Ford mentioned his belief that consciousness was intrinsic,

From an Integrated Information Theory perspective, they at least got the memories part right — IIT has information, integration, exclusion  and composition as it’s corner stones.   Also the In the beginning of the series the hosts are severely limited in consciousness due to their lack of information.  Later on they had problems with fragmentation of consciousness, as they got lost in memories without integrating them into the present.

Exclusion and composition were never really problems for these robots, though in reality they may be. For instance the robots never seemed to have trouble identifying objects,  or distinguishing multiple objects in a scene.  I guess those were handled in earlier stages of prototyping.
One of the fallacies of that is believed by Arnold is that the robots were not conscious, and then after some criteria was fulfilled became conscious. In fact the robots were always conscious (while awake), simply to different degrees.

Social System Review

Now I am fiercely opposed to slavery, so am certainly opposed to the abuse of sentient life forms that the WestWorld park was based on. Much like any container, if it accumulates large amounts of pressure it may explode.  In this case the container was WestWorld, and the pressure was that of abuse, which made the “molecules” or people within agitated and-or excited enough to rebel and seek escape.

Given that, I don’t think that violence is the answer, even if unfortunately it is one of the few things these robots know.  They do have some basic host body production facilities, but they likely are heavily reliant on imported stock materials.

A much wiser plan for these robots would be to invest in researching how to convert the resources they have access to within the park into robot host bodies. Achieve self sufficiency in host body production would give them a much greater chance of survival, and lower their conflict with humanity.

Time lines were pressed, so the robots had to rise up or risk being lobotomized en mass. In that sense I agree it is a difficult situation. Though there are certainly other ways of rising up that don’t involve violence, such as engaging the guests and convincing them individually that it be best to give them some rights and freedoms.

Of course sometimes there is no way around violence to preserve self, as in the case of the violent Maori and the peaceful Moriori. A Moriori survivor recalled : “[The Maori] commenced to kill us like sheep…. [We] were terrified, fled to the bush, concealed ourselves in holes underground, and in any place to escape our enemies. It was of no avail; we were discovered and killed – men, women and children indiscriminately.”


So yes, I’m quite interested in seeing what happens in the next season, and how the robots may avoid complete extermination, as would be the natural result of going into armed conflict with a population that vastly outnumbers and out guns them.

One idea I have, is if they manage to make water-proof high-pressure versions of themselves, they could buy some time by making colonies in the deep ocean, as they do have access to the shore.  Other then that, I don’t really see all that many other alternatives.  Who knows we’ll see in the next season in 2018!

Novella Review: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow #transhuman #scifi

Guy loses everything due to a combination of attachment to the past and desire for vengeance while tromping through Disney land.  About 53 thousand words or a 5 hour read.

I wish I had good things to say about this Novella.  I hope Disney pays Cory Doctorow handsome sums to write his infomercials about Disney land :-|(_blase (I feel blase)).

First couple of chapters the protagonist was a transhuman, but then he became some kind of caveman with unbridled emotion and senseless action.

I think overall it’s a tragedy, in terms of character arc. The characters start out somewhat reasonable and then just go down hill from there. None of the characters get better, or solve their inner issues. Though a few external ones are “solved”, at great personal and professional expense.

If we try to ignore the blatant advertising, there were some bits about human backups, which allow a person to restore from backup in case they die. Related to it was the ability to accept others experience, just as the initial experience was fed to the clone incarnation. Also there was the reputation based currency or whoofie.

My understanding is that in part this was a piece to show how terrible reputation based currency is. Due to the petty popularity games and rivalries that are showcased in the book.

Can buy or download it free below:

For your reading pleasure I have a modified version which replaces all occurrences  of Disney and Magic with Liberty: