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vN: The First Machine Dynasty by Madeline…
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vN: The First Machine Dynasty (edition 2012)

by Madeline Ashby

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2232452,123 (3.64)7
Member:rivkat
Title:vN: The First Machine Dynasty
Authors:Madeline Ashby
Info:Angry Robot (2012), Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:fiction, sf

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vN: The First Machine Dynasty by Madeline Ashby

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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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 |
This debut novel by Madeline Ashby asks some interesting questions about what the motivations and desires of humanoid AIs would be, and the surprising answer is remarkably similar to what their human creators seek. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of robo-happiness looks much the same as the familiar goals, with some cosmetic differences in the health & diet departments. Ashby’s von Neumann robots are lot like the vampires making the rounds in a lot of YA fiction these days: Super-powered, beautiful versions of people who happen to eat something unusual, but share all our emotions and dramas. Here, I was a bit disappointed, and saw potential for some wildly interesting outlook that superimposes inarguable machine logic on top of everyday life. The closest thing here was the universally in-built “failsafe” directive that the vN possess which compels them to obey and cherish humans, (their garlic/sunlight/stake/holy water Achilles’ heel). The central conflict of the story arrises from, naturally, the appearance of a vN who can willfully ignore her failsafe. Like many of those YA ‘paranormal romance’ stories, there is a blossoming romance in the works, and an authoritarian regime eager to snuff it all out. The first person perspective brought to mind Charles Stross’ “Saturn’s Children”, which also featured a female humanoid robot protagonist, and a parallel mechanism to the failsafe whereby robots are compelled to obey all humans completely and lovingly. ( )
  SciFi-Kindle | Aug 10, 2014 |
In the first chapter, a five-year-old child robot eats her estranged grandmother, python-style, and goes from kindergartner to adult in an instant from the additional biomass.

Good opening, and there are some interesting WTF circumstances (like robots were created to fill out the Earth after the rapture) but the rest stagnates. Once again, it's a book where the robots don't act like robots. They act like people. The only difference is they know they were artificially created. But other than that, they eat, they fall in love, they procreate. You can't tell the difference. The interesting things are just background -- they don't come into play with the plot and don't even make plausible sense in the scheme of the world.

The story is about programming as parenting. The problem is it felt more like a summer blockbuster action piece with chase sequences and romances that don't blossom until the end, and for me, those just don't work in a book format. It was a sludge to get through. It's a promising idea, and it does use some tropes like the existence of smart "gray goo" and robots in/as families in new ways. I can see this appealing to those few who liked A.I. and Brazil. ( )
  theWallflower | Jul 19, 2014 |
A bit unevenly paced but some interesting ideas about power and robot/human interactions. Will definitely pick up the next one [iD] ( )
  SChant | Jul 7, 2014 |
The premise of a book - of having a synthetic being as the protagonist and main character, was certainly intriguing,and what drew my attention in the first place. And it's certainly good to read a scifi book that is not all dystopian/post-apocalyptic.
On the plus side, the book is mostly well written, and easy to get yet with an interesting storyline. The contrast between Amy and Portia is really stark. I wish there was more of Portia. However, in some points, I just had no clear idea what the hell was going on - such as Javier and Amy's visit to the Seattle museum. I just couldn't visualise the scene. Might be something wrong with me.
One thing that felt wrong to me was that despite being technologically advanced enough to have almost-human machines, the rest of the technology of vN's world is pretty much of the present level, which is... weird.
Nevertheless, for the sheer novelty of the concept, it's a book worth a try, and I'm looking forward to the next book in the Machine Dynasty series. ( )
  hoodakaushal | Jun 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Madeline Ashbyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bland, MartinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Caitlin Sweet, who loved Amy first,

and

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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