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Note: This week, we’re hearkening back to ‘Classic Astroguyz’ with a book review. We largely stopped doing reviews since we started traveling long term over this past year, as it’s tough to receive hard cover advance copies… but hey, we can still read pdf versions, and will still conduct reviews of electronic copies.
What does it mean to be human? That is, if your consciousness were copied – or in modern cyber parlance, downloaded – into an artificial form, would you still be you? Would you even know it if it happened?
Such heavy philosophical questions and more are addressed in Brenda Cooper’s new science fiction book Edge of Dark: The Glittering Edge Book 1. Out last year from Pyr Books, Edge of Dark explores the overlap between human and machine.
Fans of Brenda Cooper will also recall her outstanding books The Creative Fire and The Diamond Deep in the Ruby’s Song duology, and our reviews of the same. Ruby’s Song also dealt with another interesting theme of a revolution aboard a multigenerational starship. There’s some overlap between Edge of Dark and Ruby’s Song as well, as The Diamond Deep space station makes a few appearances, along with references to Ruby’s rebellion.
Edge of Dark follows the exploits of Charlie, Nona and Crystal, human teens who are caught in a bitter war with those long thought abandoned in the outer solar system. As mentioned, the brutal mechinations enslave humans by destroying their corporeal form and downloading them into robotic hosts. Families of those rescued from such a horrifying fate are then faced with a dilemma: are the robotic copies of loved ones really who they were, even with the memories of their former selves installed? How would you cope with such a traumatic event?
Though the blurring of sentience between humans and machines has been dealt with extensively in science fiction before, we haven’t seen it addressed as well as in the Edge of Dark since the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series. The cast-offs to the outer solar system may have come back to haunt humanity like the Cylons of the aforementioned series, and like those belligerent killer robots, we’ll have to learn how to deal with them… before they decide to deal with us, perhaps in a most unpleasant fashion.
I really like the way Edge of Dark is written, with each rapid fire chapter highlighting and dealing with a character and the action as seen from their very own perspective.
And the Edge of Dark is now the first book in the Glittering Edge duology, as the final book Spear of Light was released just earlier this year… hey, looks like I’ve got some reading to do to catch up!
Read Edge of Dark for a fascinating imagining of one of humanities worst nightmares come true.
Hard to believe, that we’ve been working away at ye ole Astroguyz for well neigh 8+ years now. We’ve tried hard to always post at least once a week, though it has taken form in various iterations. Thoughts? More free fiction, astro-musings, etc? Let us know!