September 19th, 2017
Jack Chen pirates popular, corporate made drugs to fund reverse engineering of drugs that save lives and cure sickness. This time, however, she’s reverse engineered a popular work-reward drug called Zacuity, and left chaos in her wake. It seems Zacuity’s creators broke international patent law, and made the drug actually form addictive paths in the brain, making workers fatally addicted to whatever work they were doing while taking the drug. People are dying, and the authorities are blaming her instead of Zacuity’s makers. They want her dead, and the Zacuity scandal safely swept under the rug.
Combat robot Paladin begins to have thoughts and experiences he never figured on encountering when he’s assigned to go undercover with Eliasz. He finds himself contemplating humans and human behaviour, and the nature of his own biological components– namely the bio brain safely tucked away in his carapace. Are the feelings and curiosities he’s experiencing going to change if he ever gains autonomy?
Newitz gives us a rich, interesting (if quite grim) view of a future where capitalism has reach it’s apex–prioritizing property rights over human rights. There are a few problems I have concerning some facets of a relationship featured in the book, but despite that the book does entertain and make the reader think about where our future is going if medicine continues to prioritize profits over people.