Set My Heart to Five

Simon Stephenson. Hanover Square, $27.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-335-55120-7
A humanoid bot specializing in dentistry becomes an unlikely fugitive when he discovers the ability to feel emotions in Stephenson’s lighthearted sophomore novel (after Let Not the Waves of the Sea). By 2054, “the Great Crash” has locked humans out of the internet forever, New Zealand has been nuked by North Korea, and, though bots are productive members of society, they are forbidden from having feelings by the Bureau of Robotics and painted as villains in most pop culture. After a movie unexpectedly moves dentist bot Jared to tears, his human office mate encourages Jared to further explore the complexity of human emotion with the aid of a “Feelings Wheel.” When Jared receives a recall notice from the Bureau of Robotics, he decides to hightail it to Los Angeles, hoping to write his own screenplay and change the narrative surrounding bots with feelings. Of course, nothing goes as planned. But Jared’s mechanical coming-of-age brings to the forefront the things that make life worth living as Stephenson delivers an amusing commentary on logic, love, and feeling. This entertaining and surprisingly poignant story is a charmer. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/04/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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