cover image Dual Memory

Dual Memory

Sue Burke. Tor, $29.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-80913-1

Burke (Symbiosis) explores art and artificial intelligence in this clever near-future adventure. The dual narrators, one human and one computer, meet on the small arctic island of Thule, run by altruistic doctors. Antonio Moro is a Bronzewing mercenary defending the island from the Leviathon League raiders bent on enslaving its civilians when he is blasted from a rusty garbage barge. Injured, he’s left to recover ashore, and secretly ordered by Bronzewing Captain Soliana to root out raider infiltrators. He’s also linked to a personal assistant program, Par Augustus (or “Venerable Companion”), one of only four extant independent intelligent machines. Illiterate Antonio, a self-taught artist who is invariably polite to machines, and Par, a prickly manipulator capable of well-meant deceit, make an unlikely duo, but together they just might be able to save Thule from the Leviathon League. Burke loads the story with fascinating characters as she probes how humanity’s artistic capacity to inspire might interact with AI’s flexible intelligence. This playful glimpse of nonthreatening human-machine interaction is sure to charm. (May)