This sci-fi novel offers an intriguing look at the possibility of nurturing a nascent AI in your brain for a few years to help them contextualize the world and work well with humans. A side result: the AI you’ve carried inside you feels like your child once released to world, and often needs continued parental guidance and assistance. This theme of the book has you thinking about what it means to be human and the complexities of overlaying emotion with artificial intelligence.
For Gita Chithra, the dedicated captain of salvage crew who specialize in assist and retrieval missions, has helped raised two AI’s, RI and Ezinne. RI, after being out of touch for a year as she plunges headlong into independence, calls Gita with an urgent distress calln from a secret mission within Loki’s Ring. This typically off-limits world for exploration features an artificially constructed solar system, created by aliens who no longer seem be around.
A deadly infectious contagion has broken out among all the human crew that even the sophisticated med bots cannot treat. Gita as she rushes to her crew to help RI, also turns to her powerful mother, who would prefer Gita to have human children but accepts the AI’s as her grandchildren, to lend political assistance. Gita after a vote of support by her crew, rushes in to try to rescue RI and the infected humans.
What follows is a mixture of action and horror, told from many differing points of view among a sprawling, diverse, Indian, and mostly female gay or trans characters. This multiplicity of perspectives means having to really pay attention to sort out what’s going on. And of course, thrown into the mix, is the evil corporation RI works for who seeks to plunder an alien world out of greed and reckless power.
Thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an advanced reader’s copy.