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Publisher's Summary

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 speeds 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?

©2021 Divya Srinivasan Breed. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about Machinehood

Average Customer Ratings
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great

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.

42 people found this helpful

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Simply didn't like it

It put me to sleep both times I tried to listen to it. could not get into it

22 people found this helpful

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I like the premise but deliver fell short for me.

I like the premise but deliver fell short for me. For some reason I had a hard time staying with this book. The premise is good but for me it was a bit hard to follow. If your in the tech thrillers you might like to spend a credit on this. Its not bad I just struggled with it for some reason.

20 people found this helpful

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excellent!

good flow with quality social dynamics and true to form technology. very enjoyable read for near future (100yrs) scenarios.

10 people found this helpful

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Excellent sci-fi

There is so much I loved about this book, but probably the way the author imagined our near future with variations on existing social problems still impacting our daily lives made it so very realistic. I loved the strong female roles, diverse supporting characters, and plot twists. I'm going to have to get this book in hard copy to share with some of my students.

9 people found this helpful

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A refreshingly different sci-fi story

I loved this book. Truly loved it. Thanks in no small part to the narrators who brought the characters to life. The story itself builds out an incredibly rich, interesting world with a complex history and culture. It explores themes of purpose, humanity, life, compassion, and most interestingly power. Who has it, why, and what they do with it. I would recommend this to anyone interested in avi-fi who wants an immersive experience in a world that keeps you wanting more stories about the people, the governments, the technology, and even how maybe some thoughts about we can get to a world where the kitchen makes your food for you! Great work and can’t wait for whatever comes next!

6 people found this helpful

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Believable and throughly provoking.

Great story, writing and an interesting reflection of a very plausible future. I love how in this future, gender inclusivity is a given.

5 people found this helpful

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Anti-American Rhetoric Right off the Bat

Let the Anti-American Rhetoric slide, to see if it got better. For me, it didn't. Didn't enjoy the narration enough to finish.

4 people found this helpful

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Too Boring

It started out fairly promising but it was flat, dull, and progressively so boring that I bit the bullet on my wasted credit and just didn't finish it.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story and concept - bad execution!

This would’ve been a great story in the hands of a great narrator. Two different readers with no context to the storyline.

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  • R. Maines
  • 05-01-21

Techno thriller

Good world building and an interesting plot make this a winner. Perhaps the ending wraps up things too neatly but will be on the look out for future works from the author.

Multiple narrators are almost always a joy with audio books and this one is no exception.

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  • Dave M.
  • 04-15-21

here lthanks to the EP podcast,

I would never have discovered this gem otherwise.

here thanks to the EP podcast.

d

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  • Kaya
  • 09-27-21

Worth a listen

An interesting story and a fantastic narrator. Beautiful complicated characters and relationships. I Definitely recommend.