In this science fiction novel, the future is here and it isn't especially friendly. Set in 2144, Autonomous is a globe-trotting adventure where bio-hackers reverse-engineer patent drugs for the impoverished masses, fighting against Big Pharma for control of formulas. Autonomous robots have also become commonplace and as they become more efficient and closer to genuine sapience, they begin to desire freedom and to pursue their own goals. Newitz, already known as a science and technology journalist, handles the difficult task of prognosticating more than a century into the future and making her version of the world seem realistically complex. Some of her best writing comes when she's depicting the perspectives of robots and other synthetic beings. I found that the robots and the world-building were the real stars of the book. Many of the human characters and relationships felt less real than their technological counterparts. Having said that, if you're seeking an exciting and sometimes scary window into what the future might look like, this novel offers definite possibilities.
Meghan Casey (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)