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Emily Eternal by M.G. Wheaton

Meet Emily, the artificial consciousness that "can solve advanced mathematical problems, unlock the mind's deepest secrets and even fix your truck's air con"... Though that does little to help mankind, as she cannot restart the sun.

Facing the end of the world and the inevitable extinction of mankind and all other earthly inhabitants, Emily and the crew of scientists that created her are working against the clock to find a solution. It's not until Emily's central programmer, Nathan, is murdered and her servers stolen that she realizes that she's stumbled on something big, like save mankind big. And for some reason, someone doesn't want her pursuing it.

This sci-fi dystopia novel is a great read for anyone who likes science fiction, but wants to stay in a more realistic, analytical realm than that of alien spaceships and the like. I tend towards books with a sense of the fantastic, whether it be magical realism, horror, science fiction or the like. This is a solidly science fiction book for sure, but it also has this underlying commentary about the human experience and human psyche as it is juxtaposed with this unique creation melding man with machine. Sure this is far from an obscure trope in the science fiction world -- Ex-Machina, I, Robot, Blade Runner, etc. -- but this is purely from the internal point of view of the creation itself. And that really changes how the plot and commentary flows.

Emily is such a fascinating character. In an Ex-Machina style narrative, we understand that Emily is a construct -- a complex super-computer built to replicate a human consciousness, though with fatal flaws -- but it feels like she is a real three-dimensional, flesh and blood human in her emotional (yes, she has complex emotions) reactions and thought processes. Though Emily has the capability to appear anywhere in an instant, or to fast-forward or slow down her own perception of time, she chooses to exist in the same time and space as her human counterparts. I loved the downtime that she partakes in, spending it daydreaming about her crush Jason and imagining a life as a real live person.

It's a particularly fun book to listen to – as I did via Libro.fm -- because it makes her feel that much more realistic when she is literally a voice in an electronic device telling her story. If you enjoy classic robot-human interaction plots like that of Isaac Asimov or Philip K. Dick, this is a fun modernized rendition.

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