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From the Hugo Award nominee S.B. Divya, Zero Dark Thirty meets The Social Network in this science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence, sentience, and labor rights in a near future dominated by the gig economy. Welga Ramirez, executive bodyguard and ex-special forces, is about to retire early when her client is killed in front of her. It’s 2095 and people don’t us From the Hugo Award nominee S.B. Divya, Zero Dark Thirty meets The Social Network in this science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence, sentience, and labor rights in a near future dominated by the gig economy. Welga Ramirez, executive bodyguard and ex-special forces, is about to retire early when her client is killed in front of her. It’s 2095 and people don’t usually die from violence. Humanity is entirely dependent on pills that not only help them stay alive, but allow them to compete with artificial intelligence in an increasingly competitive gig economy. Daily doses protect against designer diseases, flow enhances focus, zips and buffs enhance physical strength and speed, and juvers speed the healing process. All that changes when Welga’s client is killed by The Machinehood, a new and mysterious terrorist group that has simultaneously attacked several major pill funders. The Machinehood operatives seem to be part human, part machine, something the world has never seen. They issue an ultimatum: stop all pill production in one week. Global panic ensues as pill production slows and many become ill. Thousands destroy their bots in fear of a strong AI takeover. But the US government believes the Machinehood is a cover for an old enemy. One that Welga is uniquely qualified to fight. Welga, determined to take down the Machinehood, is pulled back into intelligence work by the government that betrayed her. But who are the Machinehood and what do they really want? A thrilling and thought-provoking novel that asks: if we won’t see machines as human, will we instead see humans as machines?


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From the Hugo Award nominee S.B. Divya, Zero Dark Thirty meets The Social Network in this science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence, sentience, and labor rights in a near future dominated by the gig economy. Welga Ramirez, executive bodyguard and ex-special forces, is about to retire early when her client is killed in front of her. It’s 2095 and people don’t us From the Hugo Award nominee S.B. Divya, Zero Dark Thirty meets The Social Network in this science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence, sentience, and labor rights in a near future dominated by the gig economy. Welga Ramirez, executive bodyguard and ex-special forces, is about to retire early when her client is killed in front of her. It’s 2095 and people don’t usually die from violence. Humanity is entirely dependent on pills that not only help them stay alive, but allow them to compete with artificial intelligence in an increasingly competitive gig economy. Daily doses protect against designer diseases, flow enhances focus, zips and buffs enhance physical strength and speed, and juvers speed the healing process. All that changes when Welga’s client is killed by The Machinehood, a new and mysterious terrorist group that has simultaneously attacked several major pill funders. The Machinehood operatives seem to be part human, part machine, something the world has never seen. They issue an ultimatum: stop all pill production in one week. Global panic ensues as pill production slows and many become ill. Thousands destroy their bots in fear of a strong AI takeover. But the US government believes the Machinehood is a cover for an old enemy. One that Welga is uniquely qualified to fight. Welga, determined to take down the Machinehood, is pulled back into intelligence work by the government that betrayed her. But who are the Machinehood and what do they really want? A thrilling and thought-provoking novel that asks: if we won’t see machines as human, will we instead see humans as machines?

30 review for Machinehood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tonya

    Do you enjoy reading books that challenge you to think? It is the year 2095- and so many things have changed in the 75 years from now to then. Seriously such a good book- absolutely stunned with how loaded this book is with plot, characters, action, themes and character development. The writing is sharp- alternating views between two sisters-in-law who are also close friends- I would say best friends. Their worlds are different but their journeys parallel each other’s lives in many ways. These t Do you enjoy reading books that challenge you to think? It is the year 2095- and so many things have changed in the 75 years from now to then. Seriously such a good book- absolutely stunned with how loaded this book is with plot, characters, action, themes and character development. The writing is sharp- alternating views between two sisters-in-law who are also close friends- I would say best friends. Their worlds are different but their journeys parallel each other’s lives in many ways. These two women are women I would enjoy having as best friends. They have strengths and weaknesses and both of them go through some major changes during this novel- I felt like I was on the journey with them. The future consists of robots and androids who do pretty much everything and the humans that have to compete with them for work. Competition for jobs is so fierce that people all over the world are taking pills to supplement and boost their health; their performance; their endurance and their focus. Inside these pills are not just the medicinal testament but nanobots that go to work inside the body to help the effects of the pills. Weird eh? Fascinating to think of the technology but also very interesting to think of what that tech would mean to our health and to our lives should we embrace it. When I read Sci-Fi, particularly the good stuff that captures my attention like Machinehood, I’m always intrigued in how people live: eating, bathing, work, transportation all of these areas have changed so much because of technological advances. The part that really stands out in Machinehood is how much social media is literally involved in every facet of life for people. People have “tip jars” they play a huge role in economic survival but are mostly geared to how much the public likes you- your performance with your job, any drama going on in your life, and how much they enjoy looking into your household:/life. Very interesting theme to explore. (How much access do we really want to give others into our lives?) Another theme in Machinehood is the rebellion of a group of militants who are protesting all the pills that people are taking and advocating for the rights of machines. It’s these protests and acts of terrorism that the book’s plot is centered around- and I have to admit it’s given me plenty to think about. I finished the books days ago yet I still am thinking through the questions that the book’s characters deal with. That’s one way I know the book I’ve read is outstanding; it sticks with you long after you’ve turned the last page and has you asking questions and thinking. Looking forward to reading more books by author S.D. Divya. A temporary, digital advance review copy was given to me by NetGalley to read and enjoy. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own. Trigger: abortion.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Overall 5⭐ Character diversity: 5⭐ Worldbuilding: 5⭐ Pacing: 4⭐ Plot line wrap up: 5⭐ Ending: 5⭐ I loved this book, absolutely loved it. The merging of human with machine and possible sentient machines is one of my favorite things. This did it well in my opinion. It was hard to put down. One of my favorite aspects of it was the way social media had changed by the time the story starts. Microdrones, small flying camera bots, infest the air. Everyone's actions are live streamed. If people like what they Overall 5⭐ Character diversity: 5⭐ Worldbuilding: 5⭐ Pacing: 4⭐ Plot line wrap up: 5⭐ Ending: 5⭐ I loved this book, absolutely loved it. The merging of human with machine and possible sentient machines is one of my favorite things. This did it well in my opinion. It was hard to put down. One of my favorite aspects of it was the way social media had changed by the time the story starts. Microdrones, small flying camera bots, infest the air. Everyone's actions are live streamed. If people like what they see, there's a tip jar. The drones are for more than that but I really liked that. The way health is managed, with pills every day to stave off this illness or that health condition, people with implants that handle certain aspects of their health, it's all there. It's premise sounds simple: a group wants the same rights afforded humans to be afforded to machines--it's something that's popped up in time throughout humanity. Bots handled protests, bots handle caring for the ill and so much more. As someone with a piece if machinery implanted to handle part of my health, the idea of it becoming sentient and having control is a terrifying thing to think about. Welga has loads more, and a job that requires to use pills--filled with small machines--so when things go south, it's a nightmare for her. Watching how her body betrayed her wishes was upsetting as a reader whose gone through something similar. The writing made it impossible not to be affected and I imagine anyone else would be as well. I'll definitely be recommending this book. Spoiler Note:there is an abortion in the book. It's not described in any great detail but if that's not your thing, now you know. And it's something that gets brought up often. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lukasz

    Machinehood. Sounds good. But what does it mean? In S.B. Divya’s sci-fi thriller, the term describes a shadowy organization fighting against the abuse of robots. Set in the near future (2095), the story looks at a labor conflict between humans and robots that take over some jobs. It also asks a question at what point does an AI become a person? And at what point do we start to treat robots as persons rather than tools or slaves? As much as I love Terminator movies, I don’t think we’re heading to Machinehood. Sounds good. But what does it mean? In S.B. Divya’s sci-fi thriller, the term describes a shadowy organization fighting against the abuse of robots. Set in the near future (2095), the story looks at a labor conflict between humans and robots that take over some jobs. It also asks a question at what point does an AI become a person? And at what point do we start to treat robots as persons rather than tools or slaves? As much as I love Terminator movies, I don’t think we’re heading toward a Robocalypse. In Machinehood, robots serve as highly skilled and competent tools, and nothing more. Except, things get complicated when the first sentient AI tries to change it. Welga Ramirez, an ex-soldier turned bodyguard to the wealthy business executives, gets drawn into a deadly fight with Machinehood. Initially, she’s trying to stop them, but things get less black-and-white as the story progresses. Welga’s arc is fast-paced and exciting. She's a badass and a skilled fighter who knows all the moves. And she uses them to get tips from people watching her through ubiquitous microdrones. Divya balances things by adding the second point of view character, Welga’s biogeneticist sister-in-law, Nithya. Nithya is a family person trying to keep her household together despite financial problems and personal issues. While her arc lacked edge-of-your-seat moments, it offered a fascinating glimpse into the everyday life of regular people dealing with the future reality. Besides this, Nithya’s medical investigation into seizures experienced by Welga provides an interesting look at the science of enhancements and development of the pharmaceutical industry. The competitive labor market forces people to consume pills enhancing their performance. Otherwise, they couldn't compete with the artificial workforce. Such pharmaceuticals are often printed at home, designed by both giant corporations and hobbyists. Daily doses of drugs protect people against designer diseases, and “upgrade” them. Flow, for example, enhances focus. Zips increase physical strength and speed, and juvers speed up healing. Both sides of the conflict have their reasons to act the way they do. That makes both protagonist and the antagonist compelling. Of course, no one sane would accept Mahinehood's extreme acts but they have their reasons. Sounds ones. Machinehood is executed in a clean, concise style, with a narrative as logical as it is unpredictable. It's brainy, it asks a lot of questions and doesn't deliver all the answers. It presents a disquieting power struggle and provides a fully imagined idea of where humanity is headed. Well worth a read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    I enjoy a varied reading diet and was due a science fiction book. This was available on Netgalley and had an intriguing premise and good reviews, so, despite initial reservations, it was mission go. And turns out the reservations were well founded. There was something about the description of the book that didn’t quite excite me and neither did the book. Oh it tried, it really did. It had perfectly decent writing, a lot of grand ideas, tons of action, morals, etc. It had all the right qualities I enjoy a varied reading diet and was due a science fiction book. This was available on Netgalley and had an intriguing premise and good reviews, so, despite initial reservations, it was mission go. And turns out the reservations were well founded. There was something about the description of the book that didn’t quite excite me and neither did the book. Oh it tried, it really did. It had perfectly decent writing, a lot of grand ideas, tons of action, morals, etc. It had all the right qualities for a good sci fi book, in fact it had a lot of ingredients I specifically enjoy in a sci fi book…social relevance/commentary being one of the prerequisites. But in the end int just didn’t work for me and while I endeavor to put into words why not, I’ll just talk about the plot. So in the year 2095 the world’s technology has come pretty far, the development of AI specifically has done so much (too much?) to change the social structure, now people are reduced to working gig economies observing and supervising AI and now people are being aggressively chemically assisted to be their best most competitive selves (it isn’t all negative, of course, in fact a lot of it dramatically enhances people’s lives, but it is a crippling dependency). Essentially AI is thriving and people are junkies, desperately trying to stay on the level. That’s reductive, but practical…and so into this world Machinehood emerges. Manifesto and all. An idea that all intelligence ought to be equal and cooperative, a notion for a purer and more integrative sort of existence. Originating either in a caliphate of Maghreb or a Buddhist space colony, this is a very dangerous idea, it threatens to upset the entire apple cart of current status quo and so it must be investigated. Which ends up down to a single special forces operative named Welga Ramirez. So yeah, that all sounds exciting, doesn’t it. And to be fair, the author does try to make it exciting, but somehow it never really did it for me, the excitement was muted at best, in fact there was too much action for my liking and, frankly, too much tech also. I mean, the tech was fascinating, but once established, it was still all too prevalent, overwhelming the story at times. The characters were interesting enough and properly heroic when needed to be, but can’t say I cared about any of them. That’s kind of the main thing with this novel, it was all interesting, but not especially engaging. The sort of book to appreciate, not to love. The author to her credit did some very interesting things with world building, AI development and integration, futuristic logistics, etc. The 2095 of her creation is culturally and ethnically diverse with a wide variety of multiethnic gender nonspecific characters, who still use the tragically unimaginative and grammatically iffy They to describe themselves. The tech has made chores nearly obsolete, fabrics and furniture reconstitute themselves, food get delivered and prepares itself in a futuristic kitchen, it’s an almost magically convenient world…so long as it functions properly. And the obverse evil side of that coin is that social media developments have turned lives into reality shows with too much information too easily available and observed. Brave new world indeed, one it seems only Welga’s heroic efforts can help save. I really did wish I liked this more, such gamut of ideas, but just too many things smushed together and seasoned too heavily with action scenes and action movie like characters. It read fairly quickly for being over 400 pages, so that was nice. But much like some AI, no matter how lifelike, it lacked that certain something to properly bring it to life. The cover has the same (muted) effect, actually, oddly enough. Almost there. Thanks Netgalley.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jacqie

    Thanks to Netgalley for providing a copy of this book for review. This is the most concept-heavy SF book that I've read in some time. It's set almost 100 years into the future, at the end of the twenty-first century. The main character, Welga Ramirez, is ex-military and now works as a Shield. Shields protect Funders from Protesters. All of these titles are essentially job/careers. Funders... fund new technological developments and provide employment, and protesters attack them when they go out in Thanks to Netgalley for providing a copy of this book for review. This is the most concept-heavy SF book that I've read in some time. It's set almost 100 years into the future, at the end of the twenty-first century. The main character, Welga Ramirez, is ex-military and now works as a Shield. Shields protect Funders from Protesters. All of these titles are essentially job/careers. Funders... fund new technological developments and provide employment, and protesters attack them when they go out in public. These protesters must register as groups and also give notification as to when they are likely to strike. Shields are both bodyguards and reality-show characters. They make the conflicts look exciting and a little sexy. This means that Welga makes sure that she's appropriately fashion-forward when she's working, doesn't take out opponents too quickly, and makes it look good when she fights. Welga has a virtual tip jar and a cloud of microdrones that follow her to catch her activity. Most people in this world either have the good fortune to work directly for a funder or they're gigsters, finding any way they can to make a living. Everyone has tip jars and everyone is accustomed to the total lack of privacy that performative life makes necessary. And this is just the beginning. There's a conflict about whether artificial beings should have rights. There's tension over humans supervising robots doing much of the actual work because humans otherwise would have no way to make a living- this society has not evolved beyond capitalism even though there's a great surplus of labor and the strain is showing. Climate change is taken as a given, everyone takes drugs every day from their kitchen pharmaceutical dispensers because new diseases (both engineered and natural) are constantly being created. Welga herself is constantly on "zips" (drugs that speed up reflexes) because of her work as a shield, and she also takes buffs (for strength) and 'juvers (for healing) almost daily. Everyone is part of this pill-popping culture in order to keep up with AIs and also with each other. Everyone is racing faster and faster just to stay in place. The concepts in this book were the most interesting part to me. The author has imagine a rather grim yet rather plausible future. Characters, on the other hand, tended to be a bit more basic. I was interested in them, but not very emotionally invested. The book ramps up a plot early in the book, but the conflict kind of peters out at the end instead of exploding. That loses the book a star, but I'm really impressed by this author. She's looking at our present and writing about about our future (but it's really about our present after all, like most science fiction). It's an imaginative book with plenty of action. I'd love to see more books like this, by this author or others.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    I LOVED this book. It hit me in my sci-fi sweet spot and didn't let go. A credit to Ms. Divya's writing. Her characters were all so different yet relatable and compelling and REAL. The world as she envisions it here? Yeah, I could ABSOLUTELY see it. I really enjoyed this story - give it a try! I got my copy as an ARC in a Goodreads giveaway ☺ I LOVED this book. It hit me in my sci-fi sweet spot and didn't let go. A credit to Ms. Divya's writing. Her characters were all so different yet relatable and compelling and REAL. The world as she envisions it here? Yeah, I could ABSOLUTELY see it. I really enjoyed this story - give it a try! I got my copy as an ARC in a Goodreads giveaway ☺

  7. 4 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    I'm surprised by how ambivalent I am with regard to this story. It should have been just right for me with the emphasis placed on artificial intelligence but this didn't strike me as a futuristic adventure of humans and AIs but a moral dilemma of how the AIs should be treated by humans. This world sounded like it would be interesting to read about because, essentially, all humans are addicted to pills of all types as augmentation for improving themselves. They even formulate their own drugs of c I'm surprised by how ambivalent I am with regard to this story. It should have been just right for me with the emphasis placed on artificial intelligence but this didn't strike me as a futuristic adventure of humans and AIs but a moral dilemma of how the AIs should be treated by humans. This world sounded like it would be interesting to read about because, essentially, all humans are addicted to pills of all types as augmentation for improving themselves. They even formulate their own drugs of choice which help them compete with AIs. Machinehood is a terrorist organization which announces that all pill production must stop within a week and when that doesn't happen they begin to kill the largest pill funders. The main character is working as a Shield (read that as bodyguard) for one of the pill funders. There seemed to be so many opportunities lost when I would have liked to get closer to the main character and gotten to see how this world really worked. As one example Welga Ramirez almost dies while working as a shield but instead of showing readers what scientific advances repair her body there is just the destruction and then a day passes and Welga is all better. Social media is hyped up to an incredible extent in the story with masses of robotic cameras swarming everywhere recording anything and everything that happens throughout both personal and business situations. People watch the videos and vote their thumbs up or down by placing virtual coins in a tip jar resulting in income for the people featured in the videos. Jobs are performed with the knowledge that you can get higher tips if you put on a better or different performance; the performances even enter into what is usually the most private of interactions. My attachment to Welga was absolutely nil and the mission of the Machinehood group wasn't anything I cared about either. Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Saga Press for an e-galley of this novel.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    Review of eGalley In the world of 2095, technology has progressed to the point that basic chores are nonexistent, furniture reforms itself into various pieces as needed, the kitchen cooks the food, and Artificial Intelligence thrives. People take a variety of pills to keep various illnesses at bay, to enhance their capabilities, to compete with artificial intelligence. They no longer have permanent jobs; they supervise the bots and the gig economy keeps them working at short-term projects and the Review of eGalley In the world of 2095, technology has progressed to the point that basic chores are nonexistent, furniture reforms itself into various pieces as needed, the kitchen cooks the food, and Artificial Intelligence thrives. People take a variety of pills to keep various illnesses at bay, to enhance their capabilities, to compete with artificial intelligence. They no longer have permanent jobs; they supervise the bots and the gig economy keeps them working at short-term projects and then searching for a new project. Social media rules. Everything [yes, EVERYTHING] is live-streamed, thanks to network constellations, microdrones, and swarms of tiny cameras surrounding everyone. Tip jars help with finances; if the watchers like what they see, they drop coin into your tip jar. Into this seemingly utopian existence comes Machinehood with its Manifesto requiring the cessation of all pill production and recognition of the sentience of Artificial Intelligence as equal with humanity. Attacks by Machinehood operatives who seem to be part human, part machine, kill several pill funders; they believe in using force to gain their objectives. Bodyguard Welga Ramirez finds herself pulled back into intelligence work for the government. Despite her desire to dismantle the Machinehood, she finds herself caught up in an unexpected dilemma that threatens her life. Is the Machinehood hiding in the caliphate of the al-Muwahhidun empire? Is it threatening the way of life on earth from one of the orbiting space colonies? As global panic takes hold, people destroy their bots in hopes of staving off an AI takeover. Can Welga find the answers before Machinehood destroys their world? The complex world-building throughout this narrative is impressive, but there’s a LOT crammed into this narrative where, at times, the technology threatens to overwhelm the storytelling. Welga is sure to earn the reader’s empathy; however, despite the intimacy in the telling of the tale, the reader often feels like an observer standing on the sidelines watching the unfolding story. Nevertheless, there’s much to consider in this thought-provoking tale. Recommended. I received a free copy of this eBook from Gallery Books / Saga Press and NetGalley #Machinehood #NetGalley

  9. 5 out of 5

    Poonam

    Set in 2095, the world of Machinehood features mainstream pill-based body augmentation for speed, strength, or speed of thought as well as more radical robotic augmentation. Labor has shifted almost entirely to self-inflicted surveillance state and an almost entirely gig economy. Former military Welga is a for-hire performative guard for some of the wealthiest pill manufacturers. When a global threat to their way of life materializes, she is pulled back into the military community to try to pres Set in 2095, the world of Machinehood features mainstream pill-based body augmentation for speed, strength, or speed of thought as well as more radical robotic augmentation. Labor has shifted almost entirely to self-inflicted surveillance state and an almost entirely gig economy. Former military Welga is a for-hire performative guard for some of the wealthiest pill manufacturers. When a global threat to their way of life materializes, she is pulled back into the military community to try to preserve their world. Nithya is an analyst for a pharma company trying to maintain her contract to avoid falling to gig-work. When she comes across something fishy during the global chaos, she begins to uncover information that can have far-reaching effects on her life and the industry at large. I really enjoyed this book! What a cool, thought-provoking, near-future world! It actually feels too close to where we could be heading. There are so many open questions about the role and effects of social media, big pharma, labor markets and rights, lobbying, artificial intelligence, sentience, and human and machine rights. And the ethics at the intersection of all of these things together. This book inspires a lot of thought and discussion in the same way that Black Mirror does. The deliberate choices that make up this world and drive the plot and the characters really made this a fascinating book. Both points of view are of brave women. Courage for Welga and Nithya are different beasts - both requiring sacrifice, but one is a louder courage with broad, big actions, while the other is a softer courage from a world perspective, but is monumental personally, and ultimately reverberates just as loudly. I enjoyed the two points of view that not only give us big picture plot points, but also allow for a slice of life take on the world impacting events taking place. Definitely recommend!! Thank you to SagaPress for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    I received an advanced copy of this book via Netgalley. The year 2021 has just started, but I already know this is one of the best new science fiction books I will read this year. It's that good. Divya has created an utterly immersive future that is plausible and spooky all at once. Welcome to a future Earth where designer drugs help people work and think faster in order to keep them competitive with advanced machines. Everyone has personal drone clouds that broadcast their activities to the world I received an advanced copy of this book via Netgalley. The year 2021 has just started, but I already know this is one of the best new science fiction books I will read this year. It's that good. Divya has created an utterly immersive future that is plausible and spooky all at once. Welcome to a future Earth where designer drugs help people work and think faster in order to keep them competitive with advanced machines. Everyone has personal drone clouds that broadcast their activities to the world, with strangers casting money into their tip jar for deeds done well. Welga is a tough woman working in higher echelons of security when a client is killed by a new terrorist group. The Machinehood is demanding rights for bots--or else they'll shut down the pill trade and tech networks, essentially ending modern civilization. Welga tries to find out who and what the Machinehood really is, even as her own health begins to shatter. This is a read that ponders some very deep philosophical questions: what is a machine? what is sentient life? Some scifi books with advanced tech this deep are so full of jargon they lose me within the first chapter. This book didn't. Divya builds details at the right pace. This isn't a book just about hard scifi, though. It's packed with genuine heart. Every character feels complex and realistic, as does the incredible diversity of ethnicities, religions, and genders. With the stakes so high and the plot so deep, I wondered if everything could pull together in the end--it did. The ending is satisfying and strong, and left me a little sad that it was all done. Truly a stellar work, and the first one to go on my novel award nominee list for 2021.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    I'm truly sorry that I could not make it past 25% of this book. The synopsis pulled me in but the execution just wasn't for me. This is a dense complicated novel that gives us a flimsy back story, shallow characters, and a glimpse at what could be. I understand that the biggest issue is should/could artificial intelligence be considered human (I think that's what it was!) Should AI not be treated as slaves, pets, or unpaid labor. I think the story goes deeper than that but I just don't have the i I'm truly sorry that I could not make it past 25% of this book. The synopsis pulled me in but the execution just wasn't for me. This is a dense complicated novel that gives us a flimsy back story, shallow characters, and a glimpse at what could be. I understand that the biggest issue is should/could artificial intelligence be considered human (I think that's what it was!) Should AI not be treated as slaves, pets, or unpaid labor. I think the story goes deeper than that but I just don't have the intelligence or patience to dig deeper; read more. What I will say is that if this is what the coming decades have in store for us (and somehow I don't doubt it) I'm glad I won't be around for it. For example, everything you do is a live feed and I do mean EVERYTHING! You make your own drugs and you use them for everything...well think of a meth lab in your kitchen only making things that keep you healthy or moving when you want to crash etc. Acronyms abound so keep a pad a pencil handy! *ARC supplied by the publisher, the author, and ATTL.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    Really interesting ideas, a bit heavy on info-dumping type content at times, but still enjoyable. Full review to come!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Poornima Vijayashanker

    I did find the premise of the book to be interesting and realistic. I could see gig workers in the future having to take drugs to compete with robots and automation. Also having it set in Chennai with references to its culture hit close to home for me. Initially, the author does a good job of developing the primary characters along with the supporting characters and antagonists. But towards the middle and end the situations they are put in and their reactions to those situations don't seem deep I did find the premise of the book to be interesting and realistic. I could see gig workers in the future having to take drugs to compete with robots and automation. Also having it set in Chennai with references to its culture hit close to home for me. Initially, the author does a good job of developing the primary characters along with the supporting characters and antagonists. But towards the middle and end the situations they are put in and their reactions to those situations don't seem deep enough to be thought-provoking for me. I wanted to like this book and give it five stars but I felt like the ending was just a little too tidy in terms of plot and open-ended in terms of how we need to think about integrating machines and humans. So while other reviewers indicated that this book was really thought-provoking, I thought it was superficial at best. I may be biased because I live in Silicon Valley where there is a lot going on in terms of propositions to support gig workers and legal battles against the corporations who hire them. The reality being the race to the bottom, which this book made it feel more like middle-class problems, and who owns our bodies and minds in the future. It felt like there were two plots in this book: Welga's and Nithya's. While the plots started out compelling, I didn't feel a strong connection to either by the end. Definitely an entertaining and page-turning space-opera, but I didn't feel like it was an epic sci-fi novel. Still, I'm curious to read other books by this author and see how their work advances. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anneke

    Book Review: Machinehood Author: S.B. Divya Publisher: Gallery / Saga Press Publication Date: March 2, 2021 Review Date: November 4, 2020 From the blurb: “From the Hugo Award nominee S.B. Divya, Zero Dark Thirty meets The Social Network in this science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence, sentience, and labor rights in a near future dominated by the gig economy. Welga Ramirez, executive bodyguard and ex-special forces, is about to retire early when her client is killed in front of her. It’s Book Review: Machinehood Author: S.B. Divya Publisher: Gallery / Saga Press Publication Date: March 2, 2021 Review Date: November 4, 2020 From the blurb: “From the Hugo Award nominee S.B. Divya, Zero Dark Thirty meets The Social Network in this science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence, sentience, and labor rights in a near future dominated by the gig economy. Welga Ramirez, executive bodyguard and ex-special forces, is about to retire early when her client is killed in front of her. It’s 2095 and people don’t usually die from violence. Humanity is entirely dependent on pills that not only help them stay alive, but allow them to compete with artificial intelligence in an increasingly competitive gig economy. Daily doses protect against designer diseases, flow enhances focus, zips and buffs enhance physical strength and speed, and juvers speed the healing process. All that changes when Welga’s client is killed by The Machinehood, a new and mysterious terrorist group that has simultaneously attacked several major pill funders. The Machinehood operatives seem to be part human, part machine, something the world has never seen. They issue an ultimatum: stop all pill production in one week. Global panic ensues as pill production slows and many become ill. Thousands destroy their bots in fear of a strong AI takeover. But the US government believes the Machinehood is a cover for an old enemy. One that Welga is uniquely qualified to fight. Welga, determined to take down the Machinehood, is pulled back into intelligence work by the government that betrayed her. But who are the Machinehood and what do they really want? A thrilling and thought-provoking novel that asks: if we won’t see machines as human, will we instead see humans as machines? ——— I really wanted to like this book, but I got lost. I couldn’t tell what was happening, from the specifics such as “juvers” and “flow”, to the basic premise of the book, and the plot. I think the story was probably good, it was just a bit too futuristic for me to understand. I might give it another try. I wish I had more to say about the book, but I can’t because I was so lost. The book made me feel very old and left behind. I don’t think the problem is with the book; I think it’s with my age and inability to understand something so futuristic. I appreciate being given access to this book by Gallery / Saga Press. And best of luck to the author in their continued literary career. This review will be posted on NetGalley, Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. #netgalley #machinehood #sbdivya #gallerysagapress #scifi #scaryfuture

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Freedman

    I hung in as long as I could, but despite solid, plausible world building and complex (yet decipherable) characters, it was just taking too long to get where it was going. I stopped reading at 19% finished, per the NetGalley ereader, which I have to say is a little buggy. I was just as invested (or maybe more so!) in secondary character Nithya, her family's primary breadwinner who was dealing with an unwanted pregnancy and an anti-choice husband. Recommended for folks interested in/terrified of I hung in as long as I could, but despite solid, plausible world building and complex (yet decipherable) characters, it was just taking too long to get where it was going. I stopped reading at 19% finished, per the NetGalley ereader, which I have to say is a little buggy. I was just as invested (or maybe more so!) in secondary character Nithya, her family's primary breadwinner who was dealing with an unwanted pregnancy and an anti-choice husband. Recommended for folks interested in/terrified of AI.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Doreen

    2/26/2021 3.5 stars rounded up for great ideas. Full review tk at TheFrumiousConsortium.net. 3/1/2021 Set at the end of the 21st century, this sci-fi novel follows the stories of two sisters-in-law who will both prove pivotal in the fight against the terrorist organization known as the Machinehood. Eighty years from now, people are heavily reliant on technology and weak artificial intelligences (known as WAIs) to perform the most mundane tasks, leading to increased joblessness as humans need to do 2/26/2021 3.5 stars rounded up for great ideas. Full review tk at TheFrumiousConsortium.net. 3/1/2021 Set at the end of the 21st century, this sci-fi novel follows the stories of two sisters-in-law who will both prove pivotal in the fight against the terrorist organization known as the Machinehood. Eighty years from now, people are heavily reliant on technology and weak artificial intelligences (known as WAIs) to perform the most mundane tasks, leading to increased joblessness as humans need to dose themselves with all manner of performance-enhancing pills, often mini-machines that work inside the body, in order to keep up with the Joneses, human or AI. American Welga Ramirez is the daughter of a bioengineer who died a painful death due to her genetic code’s incompatibility with flow, a common mind/focus enhancer: on her deathbed, she made her kids foreswear the drug, leading to Welga washing out of college. So Welga enlisted in the US Armed Forces instead, eventually retiring as a result of her disgust at a botched operation in the Maghreb. Now she works as a Shield, essentially a telegenic bodyguard for the rich capitalist class or funders, as they’re known, to differentiate them from giggers, the majority of the world labor force who must rely on the gig economy to make ends meet. Her brother Luis is married to Nithya Balachandran and lives in Chennai with his wife and their daughter Carma. Nithya is a biogeneticist, and the first person Welga turns to when she starts to suffer from tremors, likely caused by the constant pill usage required in her line of work. But all personal issues take a back seat when a shadowy organization proclaiming the equality of humanity with AI targets the funders of several successful pharmaceutical companies simultaneously, resulting in death, destruction and mass panic as the terrorists' demands make their way to the global populace. Soon, Welga will have to question her own beliefs and boundaries as she embarks on a desperate hunt to stop the organization calling itself the Machinehood from killing again. It might come as a surprise for me to say that in a book so shot through with ideas of future tech and sentience, my favorite parts were the ones that dealt with the romantic relationships, between Nithya and Luis, and between Welga and Connor. Their relationships get messy and uncomfortable but the way the partners negotiate their way through conflict is honestly inspiring. It’s so nice to see realistic portrayals of strong partnerships depicted in any media, much less genre fiction. And while I appreciated how Welga stayed true to the idea that the ends do not justify the means, particularly when the cost is in human and AI lives, and while I agreed with the well-thought-out moral and scientific philosophies of this novel, a lot of the economic premises failed to convince me. In one of the earlier chapters, Welga discovers the shortcomings of a local WAI coffee vendor and opts for coffee from a human instead: the fact that this tendency of human nature to prefer human contact, and thusly to be willing to pay a marginal amount extra for it, is often overlooked in progressive sci-fi depictions of future economies continues to baffle me (I am also watching the latest season of The Expanse right now and trying to ignore the economics -- perhaps once I read the books I’ll understand it better.) I was also unenthused by Nithya’s career change: for a novel that had seemed to be critiquing capitalist stratification, it felt odd for Nithya to cap her personal journey by (view spoiler)[embracing being part of the exploiting (hide spoiler)] class. I did enjoy the dry remarks made at the expense of various world governments, as well as the clever references to previous decades subtly mirroring the just-past century. I also really liked how S. B. Divya acknowledges the importance of the very different skillsets both Welga and Nithya brought to bear in combating the Machinehood. I think more could have been done in building emotional suspense -- the Big Bad’s capitulation, as one example, felt strangely flat -- but overall, this was an entertaining, thought-provoking look at a plausible future extrapolated from some of the worst of our present-day. Machinehood by S. B. Divya will be published tomorrow March 2, 2021 by Gallery/Saga Press and is available from all good booksellers, including Bookshop! Want it now? For the Kindle version, click here.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lou Jacobs

    A chilling tale of the consequences of escalating need for technology. All are aware that technology is as addictive as every escapist, feel-good drug. People were originally horrified with the thought of tiny nanomachines tinkering with their bodies. In this near future world we have drugs and pills (actually nanomachines) that can aid us in every endeavor. There exists a huge and expanding market for these "enhancement" pills. "Juvers" for muscle recovery and repair. "Flow" to enhance focus an A chilling tale of the consequences of escalating need for technology. All are aware that technology is as addictive as every escapist, feel-good drug. People were originally horrified with the thought of tiny nanomachines tinkering with their bodies. In this near future world we have drugs and pills (actually nanomachines) that can aid us in every endeavor. There exists a huge and expanding market for these "enhancement" pills. "Juvers" for muscle recovery and repair. "Flow" to enhance focus and intelligence. "Zips" to enhance performance and speed. "Buffs" to make us stronger. All with the goal to allow humans to remain competitive with the ever improving Artificial Intelligence machines (WAI) and bots. One day an organization, shrouded in mystery and intent, and known as "Machinehood" beams across communication channels an ultimatum. "Cease all pill and drug production by March 19 or we will make it happen. A New Era awaits humankind" Later as their Manifesto goes public .;. their goal becomes more easily defined. "All of us are intelligent machines. All of us deserve the right of personhood". ( They obviously are making the case that AI's have now reached the stage of Sentience and demand equality) Our intrepid hero is Welga Ramirez, former soldier,and present-day bodyguard, who is flawed and partially surgically enhanced. Experiencing increasing seizures and tremors on the basis of decades usage of "Zips". But, yet she is uniquely qualified to investigate and confront this threat. The Machinehood threatens to start killing the "funders" who are responsible for the ever expanding market of designer drugs and pills. Will Welga and the government agencies who draw her back into the fray, uncover the forces behind this movement? S B Divya unwinds a chilling , and twisted tale of the ramifications of technology. Her tale is compelling and propulsive and excels in worldbuilding. Successfully woven into her narrative is the dilemma of the working class and continued presence of bigotry. Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for providing an Uncorrected Proof in exchange for an honest review. Anticipated publication will be March 2. 2021.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erin (roostercalls)

    “Modern society has found itself at the mercy of an oligarchy whose primary objective is to accrue power. They have done this by dividing human labor into two classes: designers and gigsters. The former are exploited for their cognitive power, while the latter rely on low-skilled, transient forms of work for hire.” —Machinehood, S.B. Divya 🦾 Happy pub day to MACHINEHOOD, an action-packed and delightfully non-Eurocentric novel that challenges the goals & unintended consequences of technological pro “Modern society has found itself at the mercy of an oligarchy whose primary objective is to accrue power. They have done this by dividing human labor into two classes: designers and gigsters. The former are exploited for their cognitive power, while the latter rely on low-skilled, transient forms of work for hire.” —Machinehood, S.B. Divya 🦾 Happy pub day to MACHINEHOOD, an action-packed and delightfully non-Eurocentric novel that challenges the goals & unintended consequences of technological progress under capitalism. After leaving Marine Corps special ops, Welga Ramírez repurposed her skills as a Shield bodyguard—one of the few steady jobs available in an economy that universally runs on gigging. At 35, retirement is on the horizon. But when an attack on a client during a milk run job ends up linked to the demands of an emergent machines’ rights group (that may or may not be helmed by sentient AI), she’s drawn into a SpecOps investigation that has ramifications for the future of humankind & social order on Earth. 🦾 Y’all I cannot remember the last time I read scifi/spec fic that was SO on-point re: potential manifestations of our current sociopolitical & technological trajectory. Divya is not imagining a world much further into the future, which makes her considerations of things like biogenetics, surveillance, connectivity, artificial intelligences, and the dueling forces of cooperation and exploitation all the more resonant. As many fascinating & creative details as are seeded into the story, its pace is quick, and the elaborately woven web of mystery and intrigue—ranging from a blacked out caliphate to a refugee camp to a Neo-Buddhist space station—reminded me of watching a season of Homeland. • Snag this one if you’re in the mood for a propulsive and thought-provoking novel! Thanks to @sagasff for the dARC 🙌🏼✨

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kay Brooks

    Machinehood, A Futuristic Novel If this is the future in 2095 I’m glad I won’t be here to see it. Everything is controlled by AI and people have nothing to do except take pills to enhance themselves and keep them well. Welga Ramirez is a bodyguard by profession who is called out to fight when there is a disturbance. Fighting is not all that dangerous, though, people are not supposed to kill anyone, just maim and disable them until they can get the necessary treatment and pills to heal their wound Machinehood, A Futuristic Novel If this is the future in 2095 I’m glad I won’t be here to see it. Everything is controlled by AI and people have nothing to do except take pills to enhance themselves and keep them well. Welga Ramirez is a bodyguard by profession who is called out to fight when there is a disturbance. Fighting is not all that dangerous, though, people are not supposed to kill anyone, just maim and disable them until they can get the necessary treatment and pills to heal their wounds overnight. If Welga puts on a good show, her fans fill her tip jar with funds. Tiny flying microdrone cameras and bots are everywhere, watching and recording everything everyone does, so if you miss a live event starring your favorite hero you can watch it on rerun. There is a lot of dialog to keep you reading until the next action encounter. I like the description and the cover of this book, but the story just seemed to drag on and on. I really wanted to like it, so I would put it down for a day and read something else then go back to Machinehood. I didn't help, though. The action scenes were not exciting for me, and the endless descriptive dialog added little. The book is obviously aimed at an audience who likes to know every move of the characters, be it he, she, or they. If you like truly cerebral novels you will likely enjoy this book. Thank you Net Galley, Gallery / Saga Press, and S.B. Divya for an advance copy of this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Madelon

    As is often the case with cutting edge sci-fi, it takes more than a couple of pages to acclimate to the language used, but once you do, the story does take off. Through the use of words, Divya conveys a different time and place not too far from our own to be unidentifiable but distant enough to feel strange. For example, we all know what a kitchen is… the place where food is stored and cooked. In MACHINEHOOD, a kitchen is an automated unit that not only prepares food but biologicals and other th As is often the case with cutting edge sci-fi, it takes more than a couple of pages to acclimate to the language used, but once you do, the story does take off. Through the use of words, Divya conveys a different time and place not too far from our own to be unidentifiable but distant enough to feel strange. For example, we all know what a kitchen is… the place where food is stored and cooked. In MACHINEHOOD, a kitchen is an automated unit that not only prepares food but biologicals and other things upon which humanity has come to depend. Some books are harder to review than others. I don't think a review should retell the story; it should make you want to read the book. MACHINEHOOD is one of those books. It is through the eyes of Welga Ramirez, the kickass female protagonist, that you will learn of the dependence on AIs that prevails in this time. As the title suggests, AIs may have reached a level of sophistication that has them demanding rights on a par with humans. I'm oversimplifying what may or may not be a war for dominance of man and machine. Overall, MACHINEHOOD is a morality play… an examination of the golden rule that states "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Good science fiction is often about possibilities. The timeframe here says our devices today are putting us on a path that could culminate, sooner rather than later, in a new civil rights movement where machines demand rights. Are you ready?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Johanna

    A sci-fi novel set in the year 2095 in which humanity heavily relies on AI technology and enhancement pills, Machinehood follows main character Welga Ramirez, a former special forces Marine who now works private security for a civilian company that caters to executives and high-profile clients. Things start to go south when pill-manufacturing clients are targeted by agents of a mysterious group who call themselves the Machinehood. Heavy themes of terrorism, radical (or revolutionary) ideology, t A sci-fi novel set in the year 2095 in which humanity heavily relies on AI technology and enhancement pills, Machinehood follows main character Welga Ramirez, a former special forces Marine who now works private security for a civilian company that caters to executives and high-profile clients. Things start to go south when pill-manufacturing clients are targeted by agents of a mysterious group who call themselves the Machinehood. Heavy themes of terrorism, radical (or revolutionary) ideology, technological and pharmaceutical dependence, and the fight for justice run rampant. Should sentient AI robots have rights? Should the government increase regulation of performance-enhancing pharmaceuticals? How far would you go to save the world? I enjoyed this story beginning to end. A foil to gung-ho Welga who takes on the burden of saving humanity, Welga’s sister-in-law Nithya, a scientist, fights a different warfront in finding the cause of Welga’s affliction, dealing with marital strife, all while aiding a friend and coworker. Both POVs were enjoyable to read (and I had little opinion of some of the male characters). What I disliked most about the story was the heavy presence of religion and philosophy as driving forces to the plot but was a healthy reminder of how seemingly good intentions can quickly escalate to violence and killing. I did find Buddhism to be a disturbing choice of showcasing extremist philosophy but also applaud it because you normally hear about other religious groups’ extremism. I found the ending fitting to the events leading up to it and was contented. I loved the writing and the jargon gave me satisfying military and PMC (private military contractor) vibes that I enjoy. So if you’re into that type of thing, enjoy rise of the machines, and like sci-fi… you may enjoy this book. Thank you to Saga Press for providing gifted copies to B2Weird B2WTours participants.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kasia

    It's 2095 and luddites worst nightmare is happening - there is not enough jobs for humans and the machines. To make people competitive and match the skills of WAI (Weak Artificial Intelligence), they are forced to take pills that enhance focus, speed, strength etc. The corporations are no longer existing (no idea what happened with them) and they are replaced by the vague idea of all-powerful and money-thirsty oligarchs (who they are exactly is never explained). The way of life is dramatically d It's 2095 and luddites worst nightmare is happening - there is not enough jobs for humans and the machines. To make people competitive and match the skills of WAI (Weak Artificial Intelligence), they are forced to take pills that enhance focus, speed, strength etc. The corporations are no longer existing (no idea what happened with them) and they are replaced by the vague idea of all-powerful and money-thirsty oligarchs (who they are exactly is never explained). The way of life is dramatically different from what we know right now and sometimes it wasn't explained well. As a result the whole world felt unbelievable and paper-thin. In the middle of it all is Welga Ramirez - a heroine that is very one-dimentional and very, very boring. Technically she is working as a bodyguard but after new, powerful terrorist group arises - The Machinehood - she is brought back to work as a JIA (futuristic CIA) agent. All the evidence that will help her track down the Machinhood will offer itself almost voluntary to her so you will never feel any sense of urgency. To slow the pace of the events more Welga will take multiple days to just go here and there to talk with her father/partner/sister-in-law etc. The exposition was happening in the dialogs (I hate when it happens, it's two level worse than info dumps), the imperative was pushing the slugging plot forward. The final message of respect to all intelligent creatures and gaining self-respect will be laced with teachings of Ghandi (civil disobedience) and thinly veiled communism. Read it if you have problems with falling asleep. What made me laugh the most: to find a drug dealer, Welga is following the trace of prostitutes. The more prostitutes there are on the street the closer you are getting to the dealers lair. Just so you know.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chuk

    This was good, an interesting setting, the main character (although a combat badass soldier type) actually has a family who actually interact with her in the course of the book (her sister in law is a viewpoint character as well in fact), plus the resolution is unusual too. I certainly hope the setting of the book never comes to be, but it might be on its way...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Keshia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. If we won’t see machines as human, will we instead see humans as machines? 5 Stars for Machinhood from me. The first page of this book had me hooked. I am a big lover of sci-fi and the world in this book is so enviable! The author did a fantastic job explaining the tech that the people of 2095 live in and it was so fun fantasizing about what it must be like to have a kitchen to cook your meals, machinery that can manipulate your living arrangements and a personal agent that you can name and rely If we won’t see machines as human, will we instead see humans as machines? 5 Stars for Machinhood from me. The first page of this book had me hooked. I am a big lover of sci-fi and the world in this book is so enviable! The author did a fantastic job explaining the tech that the people of 2095 live in and it was so fun fantasizing about what it must be like to have a kitchen to cook your meals, machinery that can manipulate your living arrangements and a personal agent that you can name and rely on for everything from schedules, news, communications and health needs. But on the other hand this tech is so advanced that it can have emotions/feelings similar to a small animal. Can you imagine tossing out your animal bot just because you wanted something different leaving it to suffer eternity searching for you? The Machinehood wants to offer a new option to life where all humans and machines can live harmoniously under their neo-Buddhism practices but have they gone too far? Things I love about this book... - The pacing. It doesn’t linger on long conversations because the world moves so much faster. - The inclusions of everyone without being cheesy. Yep, there are non-binary people but they aren’t presented as token characters. They are just like anyone, as it should be. - The explication of science/tech. I’m not the best at tech but the author was able to write it so I could understand the basics of what was going on - The food. I’ve never googled so many food items before and now all I want is to try these yummy sounding dishes! - Nithya - My favorite character by far. I love reading about women who are strong in many ways. Mother, Breadwinner, caregiver, scientist... woman have always been so many things throughout time and this character was just beautifully written. I want to know her in real life. Thank you for her. Things I didn’t really enjoy about this book... - The ending wrapped up super quickly and sort of too neat for realistic expectations. While I really wanted that ending it was sort of meh - Connor. Can we say perfect partner but in a unrealistic way? We can, but I applaud his love making capabilities although he was on the brink of death haha I highly recommend this book as it was so fun to read. It’s sci-fi but in the most hopeful of ways because now I truly want to live in that world. Let’s hope these organs of ours continue to work until we can get some of that Dakini technology in us! I’d like to thank the publisher for the ARC of this book and note that it had no reflection on my rating.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Strider

    Pros: brilliant worldbuilding, interesting characters, thought-provoking, international setting Cons: Olga (Welga) Ramirez only has a few months of shield work left before she ages out of it, which is why she’s ready to ignore the tremors her zips (enhancement drugs) seem to be causing. To placate her boyfriend, she asks her sister-in-law, Nithya, a biogeneticist, to look into it. Protecting drug manufacturing funders from protesters as a shield is a semi-dangerous but rewarding and steady job in a Pros: brilliant worldbuilding, interesting characters, thought-provoking, international setting Cons: Olga (Welga) Ramirez only has a few months of shield work left before she ages out of it, which is why she’s ready to ignore the tremors her zips (enhancement drugs) seem to be causing. To placate her boyfriend, she asks her sister-in-law, Nithya, a biogeneticist, to look into it. Protecting drug manufacturing funders from protesters as a shield is a semi-dangerous but rewarding and steady job in a world where most people can only find gig work. When a new protest group, the Machinehood, ignores the established ‘rules’ and kills the funder, leaving a manifesto behind, Ramirez realizes the world is about to change. I really liked the two main point of view characters. Welga’s a bad ass former soldier who loves to cook. Her side of the story deals with the physical aspects of modifications. Nithya is the primary wage earner in her family which makes things a challenge when she discovers she’s pregnant and has to stop using the drugs that allow her to work. Her story is about juggling family and work. Her story also deals more with ethical problems. The book also has a minor non-binary character which was cool to see. And while the story shows that racism isn’t dead, this character faces no in text negativity, so maybe humanity in this future has progressed in that respect. The worldbuilding was incredible. The amount of history the author created is mind boggling, especially given its detail with regards to politics, conflict, ethics, and most importantly science (with the development of mech technology, then bots, then zips and veemods). I also appreciated the differences in attitude shown by people of various ages with regards to the technology (as it changed) and privacy issues. Also the mixing of technologies - static and moldable items - was really cool, and showed that people adapt new technologies at different speeds depending on their wealth and rural vs urban positioning. There’s a large emphasis on the gig economy and how having machines take over most physical work makes employment difficult for humans. Global warming also shows up in the form of climactic shifts in regions of the world (like Arizona being subject to repeated dust storms). I loved that the book had an international setting with one major point of view character in India, major mentions of North Africa and Singapore, nods to China and Europe in addition to a fair amount of action taking place in the United States. This book would be fantastic for book club meetings as there are a lot of interesting discussion possibilities, specifically around ethics, but also with regards to technological advancements and how things like privacy and the gig economy will change in the future. I noticed in a few places the author gave the same information twice, in one case using almost the same language both times. This isn’t really a problem beyond the fact that the repetition was unnecessary and therefore a little distracting. The ending felt a little simplistic given the complexity of the problems the characters are dealing with, but it did wrap things up well. This is a fantastic book, alternating fast paced action scenes with slower paced visions of life. There’s a lot to think about in this complex possible future.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lacey Mubanga

    2.5 Stars rounded down. This book was just interesting enough to keep me reading, but not with much real enjoyment or immersion. I enjoyed Nithya’s chapters more than Welga’s as I actually felt like she was a better fleshed out character. The book was written well, but for some reason never grasped me. I didn’t feel any urgency in the combat scenes, and I felt like the pacing was a little slow. I really enjoyed the concept of the world, but overall, the book fell a little flat. I still recommend 2.5 Stars rounded down. This book was just interesting enough to keep me reading, but not with much real enjoyment or immersion. I enjoyed Nithya’s chapters more than Welga’s as I actually felt like she was a better fleshed out character. The book was written well, but for some reason never grasped me. I didn’t feel any urgency in the combat scenes, and I felt like the pacing was a little slow. I really enjoyed the concept of the world, but overall, the book fell a little flat. I still recommend that you give it a go if you don’t necessarily need to feel connected to characters or the world. Based on the other reviews, many have loved this book. I may just not be a cerebral enough reader for this particular story.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Olav

    The novel is clever, brimming with engaging ideas, and provides important commentary on current political trends. Set a century down the line, Machinehood delves into the erosion of human rights, the perils of capital-driven pharmaceutical development, and the evolving understandings of privacy.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Coyne

    I received this as an ARC. Thank you, Simon and Schuster! I expected the book to be a little more high action and it definitely went in some directions that I didn't expect, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This was my first book from this author and I look forward to reading more. I received this as an ARC. Thank you, Simon and Schuster! I expected the book to be a little more high action and it definitely went in some directions that I didn't expect, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This was my first book from this author and I look forward to reading more.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris Bauer

    I received an early copy of this novel from NetGallery Every so often, if you're fortunate, you'll read a novel which essentially challenges and resets your expectations for genre. "Machinehood" by S.B. Divya was such a work for me. There is a lot to love about this work. It features one of the most diverse cast of characters I've read in a very long time and was depicted with realism, heart and sincerity. Each of the primary characters was rendered in vibrant, living color with their own constell I received an early copy of this novel from NetGallery Every so often, if you're fortunate, you'll read a novel which essentially challenges and resets your expectations for genre. "Machinehood" by S.B. Divya was such a work for me. There is a lot to love about this work. It features one of the most diverse cast of characters I've read in a very long time and was depicted with realism, heart and sincerity. Each of the primary characters was rendered in vibrant, living color with their own constellation of challenges, both internal and external, to overcome. The setting is just utterly unique. Not quite dystopian, yet not a place I'd fancy living in myself, the brave new world the author creates is fascinating, hypnotizing and terrifying at times. The writing mechanics, style and structure is absolutely sound and bound together with a strong sense of narrative tension. The pace is, at times, a bit too quick; occasional stops or pauses along the trip would be welcome. The novel takes on some aspects of a conventional thriller with a speed shift into 5th gear, unknown antagonists and escalating stakes - both personal and non. Overall, a terrific novel for fans of speculative fiction but there are three elements which will stand out for me for quite some time; 1. I suspect the author could've filled twice as many pages; the worldbuilding, while very solid, gives the sense of leaving a lot of details on the editing floor. 2. Several thought provoking arguments are introduced in the novel - what is intelligence, what is compassion, how does one compel global change without resorting to violence and so forth. Big crunchy, fascinating question to mull over the cold winter months. 3. I have never had the pleasure of reading a speculative fiction work likes this where the author has accomplished the challenge of informing the reader of new / fictional concepts without resorting to ANY form of infodumping. Expertly done. Highly recommended.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mike Dillon

    Machinehood is great visionary novel of how technology will interact with human lives in the near future. surveillance drones and social media have taken total control of our economy and how humans interact with each other. Most humans live and work in a social media dictated gig economy where only an elite few are "funders" while the rest of us are either gig workers or "Shields", a weird but not implausible combination of security workers and performance artists. Protestors and Shields play ou Machinehood is great visionary novel of how technology will interact with human lives in the near future. surveillance drones and social media have taken total control of our economy and how humans interact with each other. Most humans live and work in a social media dictated gig economy where only an elite few are "funders" while the rest of us are either gig workers or "Shields", a weird but not implausible combination of security workers and performance artists. Protestors and Shields play out a non-lethal combat for tips and donations over social media, enacting little if any social change. The Shields rely on protestors to create disturbances that they can put down in the most dramatic style, and the protestors rely on Shields rise to defend the Funders from their antics. The result is major donations to both causes. No actual social change is achieved, but the viewers will pour money into both sides from the comfort of their chairs at home. The whole system is created and fueled by both the elites' and the protestors' reliance on an ever increasingly intelligent system of surveillance drones, and other "Weak Artificial Intelligence" (WAIs) to record and broadcast their messages and actions. Social conflicts are carried out in cinematic confrontations over social media, where neither side has any real interest in winning a conflict as much as soliciting donations from viewers across the world. There are no wars, and murder is almost unheard of. No one in this vision of the future is desperate enough to die, or kill for their cause. Until The Machinehood enters the picture. The Machinehood is an organization dedicated to human rights for WAIs. Every machine that humanity relies on, from vehicles to personal assistant drones to toasters to communication devices has some form of WAI, and The Machinehood has decided that these devices are people, and deserve all the rights that humans enjoy. They are willing to fight and die and kill for these rights in a revolutionary movement that humanity hasn't seen for a hundred years. I absolutely loved SB Divya's vision of the near-future. Everything is chillingly plausible. The tech scene, the dominance of social media, even the evolution of religion and how different religions have reacted to a new every day life dictated by new technology. Humans are taking pills, which don't actually contain pharmaceutical chemicals, but nano-machines that stimulate growth in musculature systems, immune systems, digestion, circulation, etc. People rely on machines inside and out. Giggers broadcast their entire lives on social media and rely on tips whether they're doing their jobs, visiting restaurants, making love, or fighting for a cause. Nano drones are everywhere and record and broadcast everything. The whole economic system that our characters live and work in is both plausibly fantastic and chillingly familiar. The world building and setting of this book are so good that this would be a five star read for me except for one thing... The cause that The Machinehood is fighting for is complete and utter nonsense. I knew coming in that this novel had a lot to say about the rights of artificial intelligence, but WAIs simply aren't anything that could be confused with a sentient being. Throughout the book Divya tries to equate machine rights with animal rights, but her vision of machines in the near future doesn't resemble anything that could be confused with artificial intelligence or even animal intelligence. The climactic showdown in The Machinehood doesn't involve an action sequence, but rather a philosophical discussion about the nature of humanity and human rights. While I'm fully willing to give that conversation to an android or a machine that has learned to feel something more than the sum of it's metal parts, that entity is absent from this book. The soldiers of The Machinehood that are fighting for equal rights are not robots that want to be recognized as people, rather they already are humans who have been fully augmented with artificial intelligences. They never stopped being human and don't need to fight for their own rights, much less the rights of flying rolodexes and cell phones with personality programming. The whole premise of the main conflict just didn't ever make sense to me. Still, the world that SB Divya imagined is so ripe for revolution and exploitation, and so plausible and familiar that I highly rated this book and whole heartedly recommend it to any near-future sci-fi fan who likes to imagine where technology is taking us. Thanks to the author, publisher, and netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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