cover image Machinehood


S.B. Divya. Saga, $27 (416p) ISBN 978-1-982148-06-5

This stunning near-future thriller from Divya (Runtime) tackles issues of economic inequality, workers’ rights, privacy, and the nature of intelligence. Bodyguard Welga Ramírez is a disillusioned former Special Forces soldier who makes her living protecting CEOs and celebrities, using mechanical implants and a course of high-tech drugs to enhance her combat skills. It’s much more exciting work than the other options available to humans: “babysitting” the bots that have taken over most skilled labor or scrounging for low-paying online gigs. Welga especially enjoys the opportunity to perform for the ubiquitous microdrone swarms that film and broadcast her every move. She even adds stylish action moves to her fights to improve her tips from her viewers. But when a job goes wrong, Welga faces a mysterious pro-AI terrorist group called The Machinehood. Determined to learn who they are and what they want, Welga heads into the very heart of The Machinehood’s operation, despite a worrying medical issue. Divya keeps the pace rapid, and her crack worldbuilding and vivid characters make for a memorable, page-turning adventure, while the thematic inquiries into human and AI labor rights offer plenty to chew on for fans of big idea sci-fi. Readers will be blown away. Agent: Cameron McClure, Donald Maas Literary. (Mar.)