Book Review: Theft of Fire, by Devon Eriksen

Marcus Warnoc operates a spacegoing freighter, assembled by his father and himself out of whatever parts they can afford. He is surviving financially only by the skin of his teeth, and has out of desperation engaged in some operations of questionable (or worse) legality.  He finds that his ship has been taken over by a young woman named Miranda Foxglove…who knows what he did, and her price for not telling will be: to take her where she wants to go.

And where she wants to go is a planet called Sedna, in the outer reaches of our solar system. No one ever goes there–for very good reason.

Miranda has also brought along an artificial intelligence–its name is ‘Lily’, rather, that was the name of the 12-year-old girl whose brain Miranda imaged into the AI system.  Given that the real Lily is back home with her family, the AI entity is dubbed ‘Leela’.   But it, or she–this AI appears to be conscious–still has all the memories and emotions of the 12-year-old from whose mind her mind was copied.  Leela is not happy about her current disembodied state, despite her silicon-enabled ability for every fast thought and her ability to shift her vision to cameras anywhere throughout the ship, and while she is basically a happy and positive-thinking entity (person?), she does feel a certain resentment toward her creator.

A well-written and thought-provoking book, which is surprisingly emotionally affecting.  The author is a frequent poster at X/Twitter, and is especially good at the art of the denunciation.

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