cover image Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution

Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution

P.W. Singer and August Cole. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-1-328-63723-9

This perceptive near-future techno-thriller from Singer and Cole (Ghost Fleet) warns of the unintended consequences of rapid technologic change. After a series of deadly terrorist attacks strike the Washington, D.C., area, FBI special agent Lara Keegan is selected for a unique experiment: the pairing of a human law enforcement officer with an android, Tactical Autonomous Mobility System. Keegan is to train TAMS on the complexities of police work and human interaction while they track down the deadly insurgent. Singer, a military strategist, and Cole, a defense industry reporter for the Wall Street Journal, have clearly done their research. Hundreds of footnotes detail the real-world scientific breakthroughs that could lead to such a scenario, though the information overload can interrupt the story and feel like homework for the reader. Keegan evolves from suspicious indifference to her mechanical colleague to caring respect. Surprisingly, TAMS might be the most affecting character. For all the emphasis on high-tech fears, the authors tell a very human story. Agent: Dan Mandel, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (May)