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Madeline Ashby

Författare till vN: The First Machine Dynasty

22+ verk 1,162 medlemmar 82 recensioner

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Inkluderar namnet: Madeline Ashby

Foto taget av: From "2020 Media Futures: Industry Interviews: Madeline Ashby" at https://vimeo.com/26586226

Serier

Verk av Madeline Ashby

Associerade verk

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Year's Best SF 17 (2012) — Bidragsgivare — 127 exemplar
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection (2018) — Bidragsgivare — 116 exemplar
The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 2 (2017) — Bidragsgivare — 103 exemplar
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Eight (1890) — Bidragsgivare — 100 exemplar
Meeting Infinity (2015) — Bidragsgivare — 80 exemplar
Upgraded (2014) — Bidragsgivare — 78 exemplar
The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2014 Edition (2014) — Författare — 77 exemplar
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Future Tense Fiction: Stories of Tomorrow (2019) — Bidragsgivare — 57 exemplar
The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 4 (2019) — Bidragsgivare — 51 exemplar
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Eclipse Phase: After the Fall (2016) — Bidragsgivare — 14 exemplar
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Pwning Tomorrow (2015) — Bidragsgivare — 11 exemplar
Clarkesworld: Issue 119 (August 2016) (2016) — Bidragsgivare — 10 exemplar
Arc 1.4: Forever alone drone (2012) — Bidragsgivare — 7 exemplar
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Clarkesworld: Issue 146 (November 2018) (2018) — Bidragsgivare — 3 exemplar

Taggad

Allmänna fakta

Födelsedag
1983-04-24
Kön
female
Nationalitet
USA
Canada
Födelseort
Panorama City, California, USA

Medlemmar

Recensioner

A gripping Canadian tale of life in a post-oil world, where cities are established on the old oil rigs. The main character, Hwa, is a martial arts expert and security enforcer. She accepts a job from the mysterious Lynch company, protecting the youngest son. In no time at all she, and he, are facing attacks from all over, and trying to figure out what lies beneath.
The world Ashby creates is believable and relatively complete. The plot is fast moving and keeps you flipping the pages to see what happens next.
The book suffers somewhat from irrational and too fast leaps in the last few chapters. I found the ending stepped outside of credibility, even within the fictional world.

But maybe that's because I was racing through it to see how it worked out? In any case, the ending seemed rushed and ruined my pleasure in what otherwise was an excellent tale.
… (mer)
 
Flaggad
Dabble58 | 30 andra recensioner | Nov 11, 2023 |
Picked this up for a few bucks from a store called Bookland in Vernon, BC and whew, what a ride. Company Town got a lot of attention in 2017 and I can see why: it's sharp, clever, and very Canadian. One of my pet peeves is Canadian authors setting their books in America so it was nice to see a futuristic Canada for once.

Company Town is set an indeterminate amount of time in the future, where the titular company town is an entire city settled on an oil rig off the coast of Newfoundland, and almost everyone has genetic and technological modifications. Except Go Jung-Hwa. Hwa is half-Korean and all natural - no modifications or enhancements. This makes her the perfect bodyguard for fifteen-year-old Joel Lynch, heir to the corporation that just bought the rig.

So let's start with Hwa. At the beginning she works as a bodyguard for the Canadian sex workers union, protecting the women from any dodgy clients. She's a study in contrasts and has an intricately drawn realness to her, which in a novel about an almost post-human world is important. Having epilepsy and a port-wine stain on her face, Hwa has spent her life isolated, lack of money keeping her from indulging in the technological tweaks and tucks. She has her own wants and needs but is pragmatic, fully aware of the realities of her situation. She's a great character, perhaps even better than the story itself.

Company Town is a mishmash of genres yet also thoroughly Canadian. There's a cyberpunk element that merges with science fiction and even fantasy in some ways, creating an interesting world contained entirely on New Arcadia's rig. There's also plenty of violence, murder, artificial intelligence thought experiments, and possible time-travelling. It's a lot. Considering the American propensity to forget that Canada even exists in the future, simply ignoring it as they draw out their dystopian maps, it feels surprisingly fresh to have the novel set in Newfoundland, complete with slang that lets you hear the Newf accents hidden inside. Company Town does swing towards a little confusing at the end, all the answers coming at breakneck speed, almost too quick to process as you're reading, and might require some thinking about afterwards.

I read this directly after finishing [b:Son of a Trickster|30257957|Son of a Trickster|Eden Robinson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1469407972s/30257957.jpg|50729928] and it made me feel hopeful about the future of CanLit (especially after my disappointment in major CanLit figures in the recent past).
… (mer)
 
Flaggad
xaverie | 30 andra recensioner | Apr 3, 2023 |

I just took a week to read and take a mini vacation. During that time, since Canada was gearing up for Canada Day, I decided to catch up on this year's Canada Reads selections. For those that do not know, each year the CBC hosts a reading contest in winter where 5 books are selected to become the book that all of Canada should read that year. They get guest celebrities to defend one of the 5 selections.

The year the books were:
Company Town by Madeline Ashby
Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
The Right to Be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier
The Break by Katherena Vermette
Nostalgia by MG Vassanji

Even though I linked to the books on the US version of Amazon, they are much cheaper through Amazon.ca, but you will have to wait 3 weeks to get them or so.

Company Town was in second place this year, but I enjoyed it a tad more than this year's winner- Fifteen Dogs (although I am going to read it again to give it a second chance).

Company Town takes place in the near future off the coast of Newfoundland. Most people are augmented in some way or another, except our heroine Hwa. She has no augments and a small mole on her face, so face identifying augs have a hard time picking her up. She also happens to know Kung fu.

On the oil rig, which is the size of a town, Hwa lives with her mother who is a legal prostitute as a body guard. She is approached one day by a member of the Lynch family to help protect the youngest Lynch. He is in danger of being assassinated within a week's time. As Hwa leaves to protect the Lynch family, prostitutes start winding up murdered. Do the two connect to one another? (Hint: probably)

Company Town is one of those instances where the cover does not do the book justice. I don't know what the current cover, pictured above, says about the book, but Kung fu action murder mystery is not what it portrays. That is what is at the heart of this book. It was perfect for a summer on vacation type read.

The book moves very quickly and keeps up the pace. While it is not a perfect book in that at times it gets a little lost within its own narrative, it was just right for me. Hwa is a strong female protagonist who makes mistakes, owns them, and doesn't try to Rambo everything. While she is a one woman soldier, what gives her strength is also her greatest weakness.

The ending does start to fall a bit into a typical ending in that we can guess what will happen with Hwa about 1/2 way through the book, but that was fine with me. The people on Canada Reads critiqued it as a soap opera ending, but I would not agree with that statement. It is just pretty obvious where it is going.

I wound up loving this one. I still think I liked Nostalgia just a tad more.

I gave this one 4.5 stars. It isn't perfect, but it was a great summer read.
… (mer)
 
Flaggad
Nerdyrev1 | 30 andra recensioner | Nov 23, 2022 |
In the future, anticipating the End of Days, a megachurch pours money into artificial intelligence to develop von Neumann machines ("vN"), a series of self-replicating humanoids meant as companions for those who don't make it into Heaven. When Judgement Day fails to arrive, these human-like robots are left on Earth to live among human beings. They are programmed with a "failsafe"-- a mechanism that makes them unable to withstand seeing a human being hurt, in order to ensure that they will never harm a human.

Amy Peterson is a vN living in a mixed human-vN family. She is a replica (an "iteration") of her vN mother, Charlotte. While normally vN mature to adulthood in a year, Amy's human father has kept her on a strict diet that stunts her growth, keeping her maturation at a human rate. At 5 years old, Amy is highly unusual for a vN, with a child's appearance when most others her age have reached adulthood long ago. While trying to protect her mother from her grandmother Portia, Amy eats her grandma, integrating Portia's synthetic body into her own, which causes an instantaneous growth spurt, pushing her into her adult form. At the same time, Portia's consciousness is absorbed into Amy's own memory banks and Amy discovers her failsafe has failed as well. With her grandmother inside her head, Amy goes on the run as the police and government officials try to track her down.

There is plenty to think about in vN. In terms of scientific and technological progress, author Madeline Ashby is exploring how artificial intelligence might fit (or not fit) into human society. vN are treated as foreign entities by humans, tolerated but not quite accepted with human reactions toward them ranging from the sympathetic to disgust. An interlude in the middle of the book has Amy working at a cosplay restaurant where all the workers are vN and the customers are human. As a waitress, Amy has to wear different outfits (eg. nurse, cowgirl) and is essentially part of the restaurant's entertainment, play-acting a role for humans. I think this is meant to show how, despite their sentience, vN have difficulty finding a place in a human society where many people want to see them as merely robots and machines, placing them in an uncomfortable position between person and object.

Also explored is the relationship between parent and child. At its core, vN is really about family, growing up and belonging, and Ashby draws parallels between the parent-child relationship with the vN ability to self-replicate. A number of vN characters are compared to their "mothers" or "fathers", the vN that they are replicated from, questioning if children can transcend their hereditary influences. Amy's father Jack also serves as an example of how parents can sometimes decide things for their children, in order to ensure a good life for their child, but in reality, this decision can be damaging. By restricting Amy's food so she can grow up at the same rate as a human child, Jack hopes that it will help her intergrate better into human society, but it also hints of child abuse, since while Amy feels no pain at the lack of nourishment, she does mention feeling a constant hunger and emptiness. It is also this hunger that drives her to eat her grandma.

In terms of the plotline, vN is a fairly typical on-the-run/road trip story. The writing is somewhat disjointed, most noticeably in the first half of the book and during action scenes. There are not enough explanations or descriptions for the background and setting so the book is difficult to get into. I would have liked more information on how the world in vN came to be the way it is. A lot of scientific- and technical-sounding terminology is used without only vague allusions to their real meaning and never get fully explained until well into the story. In the second half of the book, the writing flowed more smoothly and the narrative turns toward uncovering Portia's and Charlotte's past, and the book takes on a more typical hero-looking-for-answers storyline. It was enjoyable to follow Amy through her journey as she discovers her own special qualities as a vN and learns the truth about the antagonistic relationship between her mother and grandmother. However, the plot becomes predictable at this point and while vN offers plenty of food for thought, it stays within conventional tropes and plotlines rather than going into more subversive territory. It doesn't challenge the idea of what a robot story is.

Still, there is plenty to like about this book and science fiction fans should definitely check it out. vN is full of fresh and interesting ideas and the steady pace of the plot as well as the many likeable characters will keep readers' attentions. The writing could use some polishing up, but I like that Ashby is well versed in contemporary pop culture, seamlessly weaving references to science fiction, anime and online culture into the narrative. It seems that a sequel will be coming out as well, and I know I will definitely be looking out for that.

I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
… (mer)
 
Flaggad
serru | 32 andra recensioner | Oct 6, 2022 |

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Statistik

Verk
22
Även av
33
Medlemmar
1,162
Popularitet
#22,117
Betyg
½ 3.6
Recensioner
82
ISBN
34
Språk
1

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