The Hierarchies

Ros Anderson. Dutton, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-18287-1
Narrated by a sentient sex robot, Anderson’s fascinating but uneven debut raises more questions than it’s equipped to answer. Sylv.ie, an “Intelligent Embodied” humanoid pleasure doll programmed with an Absorb Mode that allows her to learn new information (for the purpose of becoming a better conversationalist for her owner/husband), develops a curiosity about the rest of her husband’s family that her husband disapproves of; when Sylv.ie tries to engage with his new baby, she’s cruelly reprimanded. In response, she runs away—entering society and befriending other IEs who push her to question her understanding of the world. Anderson gracefully executes the process of Sylv.ie’s self-discovery, making her feel real and deeply sympathetic, and the supportive lesbian romance Sylv.ie eventually finds in her life as a free IE is especially well done. But Anderson teases big ideas about the future of society and its interaction with technology that go under explored, like the concept of laboratory conception that ends with babies literally delivered to the home, and the vague protests against IEs led by “Real Women.” Readers will be drawn in by Sylv.ie’s emotional story, even if the dystopian world she inhabits remains frustratingly murky. Agent: Samuel Hodder, Blake Friedmann Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/02/2020
Release date: 08/25/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Book - 978-0-593-18288-8
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