Bookworm In Your Ear: From Comic to Strip
Sci-Fi that's unique is on offer today. One a comic satire, the other dealing with AI in an innovative, stripped-down manner.
Will Save the Galaxy For Food by Yahtzee Croshaw (available on Amazon.com) Put a Han Solo type character whose grown long in the tooth, and place him in a satirical, comic adventure, and you have an inkling of what Croshaw's novel is all about. If not aging gracefully is the number, our 'Jacques McKeowan' is 'numero uno'. A galactic pilot who has become obsolete because of quantum teleportation, 'Jacques' is left to hanging around airports, hoping to be hired by parties seeking something retro, with old school Adventure. When he gets enmeshed in political and corporate intrigue, our intrepid 'hero' finds himself mired with space pirates, a missing fortune in royalties, and some very deadly extraterrestrial creatures. I put our protagonist's name in quotation marks as Jacques is he name he assumes masquerading as a popular author, whose takes romanticize the days of these galactic pilots. Hilarious and fast-paced!
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz (available at Fully Booked) Set on Earth 2144, this novel from Newitz manages to be both a futuristic AI tale, and also one that takes on such issues as the 'personal rights' of bots, and the future of pharmaceuticals and big corporations. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate. When her latest hack results in a number of unexpected deaths, it points to a defect in the original, copied formula of a major pharmaceutical. Seeking to silence her and eliminate the possible fallout from the revelation, are a pair of agents - Eliaz who is ex-military and Paladin, a bot. An indentured robot mulling autonomy, Paladin questions whether these AI's are mere chattel, and whether they possess rights. That there's an exciting, high stakes manhunt while all these philosophical questions are being raised and discussed, help turn this into a unique Sci-fi novel.