I'm about to lose my geek credentials and the respect of half of my friends.
I have a confession to make. I've never read anything by Isaac Asimov.
That means that I probably lost a lot of references and in-jokes scattered about this story, but that didn't detract from the plot. In fact, I couldn't even spot where they were!
Society has moved on a few years now; and the world has split into two mega-continents. Not physically. We're not talking landmass here. We're looking at culture and innovation.
In the old USA, copyright patents spiraled out of control. Only one major corporation is allowed to make anything; and it will send the law after any who try to break its monopoly. This largely involves technology and electronics, especially the eponymous robots.
Meanwhile, out in the big, wide world, inventions have moved on at such a pace as to leave the US looking like technological cavemen.
Fundamentally, this is a story about a father and daughter relationship. He's a police officer, called off murders and the like to arrest people pirating copyrighted goods; she's a rebellious tween wanting to get her hands on the very tech. that her father is crushing.
Privacy is a thing of the past. When he realizes that his daughter is rushing into dangerous acquisitions, the police officer sends a robot after her. The consequences shake his world.
I did enjoy I, Robot, as a rip-roaring Cyberpunk yarn. But it didn't tick all of the boxes in the way that Anda's Game did. I guess I'm not as into AI, as I am MMORPGs!
That said, I thought that the ending was delicious. It's the first Cory Doctorow story that's made me want to start writing too. I could carry this plot on. I would love to explore what happened next.
If you can't live with America looking like the barbarians, then you'll hate this story. I've read commentators who have awarded it one star solely on that fact alone. Which kind of reinforced the point made within the story about US arrogance and paranoia. Just saying.
I do thoroughly recommend them. Try out the free reads on-line, then migrate to actual books when you realize how wonderful a writer he is. That's what I've been doing. :D
You've convinced me to read these stories, Jo.
It really was. I ended up lying awake until about 4am just to finish 'After the Siege'. I'd gone to bed tired at 3am, planning to just start another story. Yeah, right...
Amazing review, Jo. Seems like an amazing book.