books, reviews

Book Review: Machine – Elizabeth Bear*

Check out my thoughts on Ancestral Night

In this compelling and addictive novel set in the same universe as the critically acclaimed White Space series and perfect for fans of Karen Traviss and Ada Hoffman, a space station begins to unravel when a routine search and rescue mission returns after going dangerously awry.
Meet Doctor Jens.
She hasn’t had a decent cup of coffee in fifteen years. Her workday begins when she jumps out of perfectly good space ships and continues with developing treatments for sick alien species she’s never seen before. She loves her life. Even without the coffee.
But Dr. Jens is about to discover an astonishing mystery: two ships, one ancient and one new, locked in a deadly embrace. The crew is suffering from an unknown ailment and the shipmind is trapped in an inadequate body, much of her memory pared away.
Unfortunately, Dr. Jens can’t resist a mystery and she begins doing some digging. She has no idea that she’s about to discover horrifying and life-changing truths.
Written in Elizabeth Bear’s signature “rollicking, suspenseful, and sentimental” (Publishers Weekly) style, Machine is a fresh and electrifying space opera that you won’t be able to put down.

My thoughts:

This was really good, it started out as a pretty straightforward medical drama in space, then became a hostage situation, with a whole hospital being held up by a rogue virus infecting every AI that comes into contact with it.

As with Ancestral Night, the AIs are smart and a little sassy, the marvellous crime solving bug Goodlaw Cheeririlaq is back in their snazzy jacket, and there’s a new hero in Dr Jens, a woman who has to try to figure out her new patients, even though she’s not an AI doctor, and solve a mystery or two.

This was really enjoyable and gripped me the whole way through, the terrible crimes being secretly carried out in the hospital are shocking and justly need revealing, Jens is a really great character, her vulnerability and chronic pain condition hold her back slightly but she works around it and doesn’t let her apparent limitations stop her.

Thank you to Will at Gollancz for sending me a copy to review. Machine is available from all good bookshops (and evil ones I suppose!)

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