´Joyously written and a joy to read´
Claire North, author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August on The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
Once, Lovelace had eyes and ears everywhere. She was a ship´s artificial intelligence system, tasked with caring for the health and wellbeing of her crew, possessing a distinct personality and very human emotions. But when her ship was badly damaged, Lovelace was forced to go into a total system reboot. Now, reactivated and reset, Lovelace finds herself in a synthetic body. She´s gone from being virtually omniscient to limited to a physical existence, in a community where her kind are illegal. She´s never felt so isolated.
But Lovelace is not alone. Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall her program, has remained by her side and is determined to help her adjust to her new world.
Because Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over.
Pepper was born Jane 23, part of a slave class created by a rogue society of genetic engineers. At ten years old, Jane 23 has never seen the sky; she doesn´t even know such a thing exists. But when an industrial accident gives Jane 23 a chance to escape, she takes the opportunity and hides away in a nearby junkyard.
Now, having recreated herself as Pepper, she makes it her mission to help Lovelace discover her own place in the world. Huge as the galaxy may be, it´s anything but empty.
[cover of Long Way]
This is a stand-alone sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, but it's best to have read the latter to have a better understanding of what's going on in this second book, or rather, how Lovelace aka Lovey (aka Sidra) is trying to lead an independent... This is a stand-alone sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, but it's best to have read the latter to have a better understanding of what's going on in this second book, or rather, how Lovelace aka Lovey (aka Sidra) is trying to lead an independent life, as a human(oid). In this new story we follow two story-lines (through alternating chapters): Lovey's (sorry, Sidra's, as she had to pick a new name, something that wouldn't arouse suspicion in the world she would be living in) and Pepper's (formerly known as Jane - strangely enough, Chambers didn't mention how Jane became Pepper, or I must have overlooked that part). One final thing about Sidra's and Jane's lives: Both go from a very structured environment, without too many external influences, and where they doesn't have to think for themselves, to an environment with a plethora of external influences and boundaries. They have to make their own decisions, based on the incoming information and experiences. And of course, both experience(d) severe adaptation problems. That's what makes this book interesting: the philosophical (and psychological) elements weaved throughout the story. The world is still populate by different species, who have to share the same space and get along. Each has his/her differences. But we still haven't learned to create a world that's right for everyone. Also, each has a purpose: by having a job (doctor, construction worker, mechanic, administrator, manager, artist [music, drawing, ...], etc.), for example. Or being part of a NGO or other organisations (voluntarily or paid). Or through one's hobbies. So, with that - the thought behind the story (as it was for the first book) - in mind, it's a good story. If I don't take the deeper layer into account, I have to admit that I found this story less attractive than the first book. There were some parts that just didn't speak to me, didn't appeal to me.