By Annalee Newitz,

Book cover of Autonomous

Book description

'Autonomous is to biotech and AI what Neuromancer was to the internet' NEAL STEPHENSON

'Something genuinely and thrillingly new' WILLIAM GIBSON

'Holy hell. Autonomous is remarkable' LAUREN BEUKES


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Why read it?

4 authors picked Autonomous as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Autonomous is one of those books you finish reading and then just want to sit and stare off into space for a while.

The story takes place in a future world where Big Pharma runs basically the entire show. The main character is a drug pirate, fabricating expensive drugs to provide them to the population on the cheap… but when one of her fabbed drugs causes some horrible side effects, it kicks off a domino effect of chaos and death.

Other characters include a military agent sent to hunt our drug pirate down and his robotic, AI-powered partner. Every character…

From M. J.'s list on where no one is 'the good guy'.

Autonomous is a thought-provoking cyberpunk story that takes place in a near-future society where Big Pharma pretty much runs the show. Our main character, Jack, makes dupes of expensive prescription drugs, selling them on the black market. Even though her goal is arguably pretty noble (selling expensive drugs to poorer citizens on the cheap), the story follows the consequences that ensue when she starts selling a black market drug that gives users horrific and life-threatening side effects. 

Our other main characters are a military-grade AI-powered robot and a member of the armed forces who are tasked with chasing down the…

Though this sci-fi novel has multiple protagonists, it is the robot Paladin who will steal your heart. A military-grade AI with onboard weapons and a human brain for a data core, Paladin’s devotion to his partner, his ambiguous identity, and his penchant for streams of nonsense will entertain and delight you. The multiple subplots in this book give readers plenty to go on as they experience a near-future world that at times seems all too plausible.

Annalee Newitz is the founding editor of io9 and a science writer who knows their stuff. In Autonomous, they’ve created a believable world that’s neither dystopian nor utopian. This is the book I might’ve written had I set Machinehood another 50 years in the future. Autonomous came out two years before my book, and when I started reading it, I got worried that my novel (in progress at the time) was obsolete. Luckily, we take some different twists and turns, and this book focuses more on biotech and less on A.I., while my novel does the inverse. It’s a…

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