Good Ideas Still left Me Cold

Machine

By: Elizabeth Bear

After finishing this book I found myself a bit torn on the rating. I liked a lot of it. Liked the ideas but I also felt very cold overall and I think it comes down to the main character in the end.

Dr. Jens is a space rescue Doctor. A paramedic of the galactic if you will. She and her team who have an “ambulance” ship that’s an AI called Sally get called to the sight of an extremely strange rescue where one ship has entwined with an exceedingly old vessel (one of the first human ventures into space apparently) both ships are now silent.

An upon boarding Jens and her partner discover a strange machine seems to have infected them both.

So naturally they take the frozen survivors, the ship AI Helen and bits of the machine back to the extremely impressive space hospital and really that was a cool part of the story. Seeing how a hospital mission would work in space and support life and life-giving efforts for all these different forms of life.

The way the AI’s were done were really cool too. They are accepted as life forms of their own even if there’s a sense of ownership about them and some are deeply embedded in the hospitals life.

So with all the good where did the book let me down?

Jens is kind of a bore. Especially because I think there were several different characters you could have made the main better that would have tied better into the mystery as well because it just hangs out there until halfway through the book. Which made the end very action packed and fast and the conclusion was interesting I just felt like it needed better pacing because at that point there was little time to breath or take in some of the implications of what was happening.

So yeah, Machine was an interesting read for its sci-fi ideas… Which makes it hurt all the more it felt so flat.

Recommend: Overall no.

*Thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for providing a copy of the book for review. It hasn’t changed my opinion in anyway.