Simon and Schuster
September 25th, 2018
Cager Messer has a serious drug problem. His friend Billy and caretaker Rowan (whom no one is sure is actually a human and not a bot) decide that an environment completely removed from temptation might be best to clean him up, and they shanghai Cager and travel to Cager’s father’s new vacation starliner, the Tennessee. Since it’s not opened for business yet, all that will be there is a crapload of bots, Cager, Billy, and Rowan.
Of course, like any plans, they don’t quite survive execution. Once the boys get there, they realize there’s a few problems with the ship, and they’ve got two young female stowaways. It’s a big ship, though, so it takes awhile for them to actually run into each other.
Bottom line? This book was bizarre. Amusingly bizarre in some places, bafflingly so in others. There’s a lot of teenage dick jokes, drug use, and robots that show only extremes in emotion. That point was actually where I found a bit distasteful and tiresome–one of the emotions robots in this world can get stuck on is outrage. When those bots have fits, they yell about being ‘offended’ and ‘triggered’ at the slightest provocation, which felt like commentary on the internet today. After the first few times, the point was made. The more it happens throughout the book, the more tiresome it became.
I’ve liked Smith’s work in the past, and his tendency toward the quirky and bizarre typically amuses. This time missed the mark a bit for me.
JL Jamieson is a strange book nerd who writes technical documents by day, and book news, reviews, and other assorted opinions for you by night. She is working on her own fiction, and spends time making jewelry to sell at local conventions, as well as stalking the social media accounts of all your favorite writers.