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vN by Madeline Ashby
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vN (edition 2012)

by Madeline Ashby

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3112735,843 (3.51)9
Member:devilwrites
Title:vN
Authors:Madeline Ashby
Info:Angry Robot (2012), Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Collections:Shara's Library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:madeline ashby, science fiction, kindle, read: ssw

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vN: The First Machine Dynasty by Madeline Ashby

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» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
According to my database, I bought this at the 2014 Fantasycon for £1. So it’s taken me nearly three years to get around to read it. I seem to recall it being quite well-received at its time of release, but, to be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed. The title refers to von Neuman machines, although in this novel they’re actually AI in humanoid bodies thatare faster, stronger, etc, than humans. They’ve integrated into society such that the story opens with a man, his vN wife and vN child (vN children are identical copies of their parent – created by both female and male vN; and, in fact, all vN come in a limited number of “models”, each one identical to the original vN of their line). In order for the child vN, Amy, to “grow” along a similar time-frame to a human child, her parents have been limiting her “food” intake. But when her vN grandmother, Portia, turns up to her kindergarten graduation and goes berserk, Amy eats her. And so grows almost immediately to adult size. And goes on the run… The problem with vN is that the vN over-balanced the world-building, and Amy was a completely unconvincing character. The vN are so physically superior to human beings they made no sense unless they were non-sentient. But they’re AIs, and supposedly not dangerous because they have a “failsafe” (sort of Asimov’s Three Laws rolled up into one maguffin). Except Portia has overriden hers. And it’s likely Amy will be able override hers too. But since the entire novel is told from Amy’s POV- and she’s a very implausible five-year-old – we can only guess at what this might actually mean to society at large. If you want to read a book about robots and humans, Machine by Jennifer Pelland is much better. There’s apparently a sequel to vN, titled iD. I’ll not be bothering with it. ( )
  iansales | Jun 22, 2017 |
Hmm. There were some good ideas in here. On the other hand, I had a hard time with the pedo stuff.

I'll probably read the sequel. ( )
  adamwolf | Jun 7, 2016 |
I enjoyed this. From the get, it jumped right into the happenings. The background stories or setting were mentioned as off-handed comments, and I enjoyed this: I really didn't think it was confusing in the lease. More on the the original side of the android/cyborg/artificial intelligence being stories I've recently read. The reason for the 3 and not 4 star rating: the vN and humans seemed (to me!) to think and act the same. I think if the author could have picked something, seriously, anything, other than (what seems to me) the usual: failsafe, don't hurt humans, but the failsafe fails trope it would have made a great read. Very enjoyable, nonetheless! ( )
  Amy_Jesionowski | Nov 3, 2015 |
I really liked vN until the very last chapter. The last chapter dropped it from 4 stars to 3 stars for me. It was sort of like I was missing some chapters. Still enjoyed it though. ( )
  Fearshop | Aug 20, 2015 |
I love the library. I do wish authors made money on each time the book was checked out, then again there wouldn't be libraries if that was the deal with publishers. The reason why I love libraries is by wandering the aisles looking for that science fiction sticker (the St. Petersburg Library System puts "Science Fiction" stickers on the spines of sci-fi books) I come across gems every now and then. First it was Fortune's Pawn now it's vN.

If you're looking for military or A LOT of fighting, then look elsewhere. vN isn't full of fighting but the story keeps the pages turning, makes it so you don't want to put the book down.

Back to the library part though. I actually did pass up checking this book out. I looked at Amazon and a bunch of reviews blasted the book. Talked about how Amy (the main characters/protagonist) was just a whiner and so on. Pretty sure they were expecting some ultra-violent book and were let down. I am glad I finally shrugged my shoulders and went with my gut. If I didn't check out the book, I wouldn't have been entertained for several days.

vN is a wonderful book. It's thoughtful and puts a new spin on AI. Sure, the failsafe that prevents AIs from hurting humans is there, but it's presented in a novel way. It's not Aismov's Three Laws reworded; which is great, as I've always been a sucker for AI stories, from Neal Asher's super dark story telling to, now, Madeline Ashby's thoughtful look on it. It's just fun to read. Especially when it's not "human's inefficient, human's die".

I do recommend vN. Don't listen to those naysayers on Amazon, it's a great book. It kept me turning pages and reading in the car. I'm looking forward to reading the next in this trilogy. ( )
  scifi_jon | Jun 16, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Madeline Ashbyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bland, MartinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Caitlin Sweet, who loved Amy first,

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Peter Watts, the Giant Squid who lent me an island when I rebuilt myself
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Jack had lived through this same moment before, with human women.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0857662627, Paperback)

Amy Peterson is a self-replicating humanoid robot known as a VonNeumann.

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, 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 she alone can kill humans without failsafing...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"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 them, Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive. Now she's on the run, carrying her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive. She's growing quickly, and learning too. Like the fact that in her, and her alone, the failsafe that stops all robots from harming humans has stopped working. Which means that everyone wants a piece of her, some to use her as a weapon, others to destroy her"--Publisher's description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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