cover image In the Lives of Puppets

In the Lives of Puppets

T.J. Klune. Tor, $28.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-250-21744-8

Bestseller Klune (Under the Whispering Door) draws from Pinocchio to create a gripping and heartfelt queer dystopian tale set in a world where humanity has been eliminated by robots. Victor Lawson, 21, was raised by his robot father, Giovanni, in a secluded forest in far-future Oregon. Together with two friends—antisocial Nurse Ratched (short for “Nurse Registered Automaton to Care, Heal, Educate, and Drill”) and neurotic vacuum Rambo—Victor discovers an angry, powerful android in the nearby scrapyard. Hap, as the trio comes to call him, quickly imprints on Victor, who repairs the android’s body with wood and powers him with a carved heart containing a drop of Victor’s own blood. When Giovanni is seized by the law and taken to the City of Electric Dreams, a recorded message from Giovanni reveals that Victor is the last surviving human—and that Hap is a model HARP (Human Annihilation Response Protocol) created by Giovanni to hunt and kill humans before he learned regret. Hap, who doesn’t remember this violent past, promises not to hurt Victor as they concoct a plan to rescue Giovanni. Klune makes the central question of what it means to be human feel direct, urgent, and fresh. Both very funny and deeply touching, this evocative retelling will delight Klune’s fans and newcomers alike. (Apr.)