by Sierra Greer
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Pub Date 19 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 14 May 2024
For fans of Never Let Me Go and My Dark Vanessa, a powerful, provocative novel about the relationship between a female robot and her human owner, exploring questions of intimacy, power, autonomy, and control.
Annie Bot was created to be the perfect girlfriend for her human owner Doug. Designed to satisfy his emotional and physical needs, she has dinner ready for him every night, wears the pert outfits he orders for her, and adjusts her libido to suit his moods. True, she’s not the greatest at keeping Doug’s place spotless, but she’s trying to please him. She’s trying hard.
She’s learning, too.
Doug says he loves that Annie’s AI makes her seem more like a real woman, so Annie explores human traits such as curiosity, secrecy, and longing. But becoming more human also means becoming less perfect, and as Annie’s relationship with Doug grows more intricate and difficult, she starts to wonder: Does Doug really desire what he says he wants? And in such an impossible paradox, what does Annie owe herself?
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Average rating from 42 members
If there is one recurrent theme of 2023, I would say that it is the significant emergence of AI into our regular, everyday lives. My brother has been warning me of the "robot uprising" for over 20 years now, and I feel that it is finally happening. Meaning it is the perfect time for a book like Sierra Greer's Annie Bot to be published.
Annie Bot is set in a time when it is commonplace for robots to exist among us, undistinguishable at the surface from humans. These "Stellas and Handys" serve as maids, nannies, fixer uppers, and yes, essentially ... sex servants. Such is the case for Annie, a robot created especially for the lonely and bitter Doug, who has modeled Annie after his ex-girlfriend, who he is still pining over. Annie solely exists to please Doug, both in and out of the bedroom. Their relationship naturally is built upon an extreme power imbalance, which wouldn't ordinarily be a problem ... except Annie is no ordinary robot. With her operating mode set to autodidactic, Annie's life is basically an experiment - just what is she capable of learning? How far can her mind grow and go?
As Annie tries to "learn" her owner Doug, she finds herself ever puzzled by his erratic and inconsistent behavior. Just what is it that he wants from her, and why does he become so displeased with her even when she thinks she is doing everything right? When one day Annie deliberately participates in an act sure to infuriate Doug, Annie finds that she may just have bitten off more than she can chew.
While science fiction is not ordinarily my genre, I was utterly captivated by Annie Bot, perhaps because Greer tells this story in such an accessible, human way. She makes it so easy to imagine a world where "Stellas" like Annie exist and cohabitate alongside of us, integrating seamlessly into our lives. Furthermore, despite being a robot, Annie is an intriguing, multi-layered creature who continued to surprise me throughout this book. This novel is absorbing and thought-provoking, while still being unlike anything I have ever read before. Annie Bot is both dark and ominous, while also maintaining an air of innocence and hope. It is easily one of the most captivating novels I have read all year!