Intelligent Consent by R. Andrew Russell [5/10]

Robot/AI science fiction is a favorite sub-genre of mine and I spent an enjoyable evening whizzing through “Intelligent Consent,” an engaging tale about a robot that springs into consciousness with a mind copied from that of a researcher, and their interactions as Rob the robot struggles to stay one step ahead of an unscrupulous corporation. The premised scanning and copying of a mind is lightly but convincingly related and the seesawing plot swept me along. Characterisation is not a strong suit of plot-driven novels like this (think “The Martian,” with which “Intelligent Consent” shares a little), so that empathy with either human or machine is not strong until towards the end, when a stunning climactic twist portends not only a sequel but the prospect of deepening relationships. Deeper themes relating to the nature of artificial intelligence also begin to emerge towards the end. The milieu of research laboratories is interestingly portrayed. If a sequel does drop, I’ll snap it up.

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