Machine
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Machine

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  105 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Celia's body is not her own, but even her conscious mind can barely tell the difference. Living on the cutting edge of biomechanical science was supposed to allow her to lead a normal life in a near-perfect copy of her physical self while awaiting a cure for a rare and deadly genetic disorder. But a bioandroid isn't a real person. Not according to the protesters outside Ce...more
Paperback, 316 pages
Published January 9th 2012 by Apex Publications (first published January 1st 2012)
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Bending The Bookshelf
Good science fiction makes you think. Pulp science fiction entertains you. Great science fiction, on the other hand, makes you think while entertaining you. Such is the case with Machine by Jennifer Pelland.

The concept at the heart of the story is an interesting one, and even though it's been done before, it's never been done quite like this. In the not-too-distant future, science has managed to create entirely human-looking android bodies into which human thoughts and emotions can be copied. It...more
Adam Ickes
If I had to describe this book in one word that word would be disturbing, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I won't go into much detail so I don't ruin it for you, but Machine is the thought provoking story of a woman, Celia, who takes on an android body while her biological body is held in stasis until a cure can be found for her rare form of Alzheimer's. The woman has few friends to support her during her greatest time of need. She faces many unforeseen struggles in her new life as a bioa...more
Ryan
Celia Krajewski is unsure of how long she has to live. None of us do, really, but for Celia the matter is a bit more pressing, as she's recently discovered she carries a gene for a rare mutation that will eventually destroy her mind. She has an out, though; she can place her body in statis, transferring her mind and personhood to a bioandroid body so that she can continue living until a cure is found.

Death always demands payment, though, and Celia's attempt to cheat it comes with the cost of her...more
Ronel
It has been a week since I finished it and cannot get it out of my mind. This is such a fantastic book.

I've always been a huge sci-fi fan. Not so much the "Hark, an alien" type but more the "what if XYZ happens a hundred years from now." Realistic sci-fi for the lack of a better term (or is that an oxymoron?)

The book centers around the idea that the human thoughts and memories of a terminally ill patient can be transferred into a bio-android body. The body of the patient is then put into stasis...more
Bryan Schmidt
If the author had set aside her ideology and just focused on story, this would be a five star book, but unfortunately, despite being hard to put down, the story suffers under the weight of the preachy tone. Questions could have been asked and left up to readers to decide how they come down on the issue. But that doesn't happen here enough. And that's too bad, because there's a rollicking good Science Fiction tale underneath, one I found it hard to tear my eyes away from. But just when I was gett...more
Misha
I've known Jennifer Pelland for something like 14 years and have watched her carve out a niche as a top-notch small/indie press science fiction writer exploring how people relate to technology and to their own bodies. Machine feels like the culmination of her exploration of those themes, bringing them all together in one dark, kinky, twisted, screwed-up ride about a woman learning to live in an android body. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who likes their science fiction to kick over hu...more
Dale
Whether you call it science fiction, or speculative fiction, or sociological fiction, or any other term, the genre field is about technological advances, but more importantly, what those changes in technology mean to us as humans. The best examples show us how people's lives are altered with this new leap in the sciences-- what about us changes, and what remains essentially the same. The humanity of the story is what truly matters.

In Machine, the humanity of the story is all, as it should be. J...more
L Timmel
_Machine_ is an engaging exploration of somataphobia, mostly that of main character Celia's hatred of her temporary "body" which she endeavors to variously "control," "punish," and annihilate when she learns that her wife rejects it. (Another, more generalized version of somataphobia, in which certain characters desire to permanently replace their bodies with immortal machinery that they consider "perfect" in comparison with the weakness and imperfection of their somatic bodies, is simply noted...more
Shara
The premise: ganked from BN.com: Celia's body is not her own, but even her conscious mind can barely tell the difference. Living on the cutting edge of biomechanical science was supposed to allow her to lead a normal life in a near-perfect copy of her physical self while awaiting a cure for a rare and deadly genetic disorder.

But a bioandroid isn't a real person. Not according to the protesters outside Celia's house, her coworkers, or even her wife. Not according to her own evolving view of herse...more
Kelly Flanagan
WOW At this point I think I need to breathe and blink a coupe hundred times to stop the tears. What an amazing story. Cilia has a problem, well a few problems. one her body is in stasis because of a genetic disorder. two, her bioandroid body isn't good enough for her wife and three, she doesn't feel human anymore.
This book is an intense ride through the rough and gritty reality of not fitting into your body. Now the book is all about bioandroids but the premise is one that runs through many peo...more
Rob
...Machine focuses completely on impact on the individual. Pelland doesn't spend time on exploring the implications of developments in the novel to wider society beyond what is necessary for the development of her character, which some readers may find a weakness. Personally, I think Machine is a very good character study. Celia is a troubled individual and her story does not make for happy reading. It's at times disturbing, at time heartbreaking and always keeps the reader on their toes. The no...more
Arachne8x
This is a very gritty, very creepy, extremely insightful book.

Is the self in the mind, in the soul, in the body, or in all of the above? Is a constructed body that is virtually identical to the original a place where the human psyche can feel at home?

Celia is inhabiting an android body that is virtually indistinguishable from the one in medical stasis, but while this seems like a perfect solution to the problem of deadly or debilitating diseases, as Celia discovers there are parts of society and...more
Tamahome
Just got it on the basis of the ebook sample. Seems nicely creepy and depressing à la Octavia Butler. The author was just on sfsignal's podcast, but the interview mostly covered belly dancing.

Lesbian woman gets a new body, wife leaves, she starts taking herself apart.

28% - (kindle book has no page numbers) Io9 is going to rave about this.

56% - Oboy. (She doesn't shy away from the sex.)

90% - Ok, let's finish it. I think I can do 600 'units' an hour and there's 800 left.

All done. Very different...more
Jon
I'm conflicted about this book. It was entertaining, and I finished it, but it wasn't satisfying.

It attempts to explore an interesting issue, and does a good job with parts of it, but overall it feels like a thin excuse to write about robot sex. Some of the wording and "tech" talk feels childish, and some of the flat behavior of the characters enforces this.

I wanted to like this book more than I did, but it's just not quite there. There's a way to meld your sex scenes and behavior together wit...more
Miranda
Review of Jennifer Pelland’s Machine

I picked up Machine by Jennifer Pelland at the Broad Universe table in the Arisia 2014 dealer’s room. They obviously had a lot of books by female authors on display (which was very nice to see), so in order to choose what to buy I asked them for a book that a) had a female protagonist, and b) had no romance/romantic plot arc.

At a table with dozens of sci-fi and fantasy books by female authors… this was one of two that they pointed out to me which seemed to act...more
Katherine
This book is f***Ed up, and I mean that in the best possible way.
Joe Stamber
Sometime in the future, anyone suffering from an incurable illness can be frozen until a cure is found. To enable them to carry on living in the meantime, a clone is created which looks, acts and feels just like the person it is emulating. Machine is a study of what happens when Celia undergoes this procedure and how she copes with the resulting issues.

I found the basic plot of Machine very interesting and it was a new idea to me, so credit to Pelland for imagining something that could technical...more
Nightwing
I entered the world of Machine with trepidation. I have enjoyed every short story I've ever read by Ms. Pelland, though "enjoy" is a subjective term when it come to one's reaction to a Jennifer Pelland tale. I only hoped it would be as good as the least of her shorter works. This book was better than them all! It was longer, the plot was multi-level, there was more development of the characters, it was an engaging tale of a woman trying to decide who and what she really is. But still, through it...more
Pippa Jay
The good:
I was really hooked by an excerpt I saw from the opening of this. I loved the concept of it, the whole idea of if you put your mind and memories into another body, is it still you? There were lovely touches of technology and a good use of psychology. It questions the whole idea of identity, of soul and self, of sexual identity, and how much influence our body has on our mental state. A stark reflection of current society where so many people attempt to conform to the advertised 'ideal',...more
Lynette Aspey
If you’re looking for a deeply probing investigation of transhumanist social and technological issues, then Machine is not for you.

On the other hand, this is a well-written, character-driven story. Jennifer Pelland has done a good job integrating recognizable trends into her future setting, while paralleling those advances with an American society still in the grips of Christian fundamentalism, particularly with regard to “the soul” and “life choices”.

A brief(ish) outline, (I don't think there a...more
Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert
Excellent. I read this book about two months ago, and have been digesting it before reviewing it.

This story has stayed with me. Often, I will read (and enjoy) a book, but a month or two later it will have "faded"--vital parts of the story have just dropped out of my memory. I will REMEMBER liking it, but find that I cannot hold onto the details.

Machine is sticky.

Pelland's writing style is very straightforward, and she creates visceral images that have staying power. These are a few of the reason...more
Cynthia Wood
Jennifer Pelland's first novel follows Celia, a woman recently diagnosed with a virulent early-onset form of Alzheimer's Disease. In a procedure evidently established, yet still highly controversial, Celia has her consciousness transferred into a bioandroid - an exact copy of her human body, so that she can continue to live and create memories while her biological body is put in stasis to await a cure.

What happens from there is the meat of this book. Celia's wife divorces her, unable to fathom c...more
heidi
I really really hated the end of this book. More passionately than I hated the epilogue of the Harry Potter books, and that's saying something. But then it occurred to me that the reason I was so angry about it was because I was so invested in Cecilia's personality and story.

I was curious along with her about her new body, and angry about her wife's abandonment, and I could see why she was disenchanted with trying to pretend to be human when she had an option.

Cecilia gets an android replacement...more
Daniel
I first met Jennifer Pelland two years ago. Her collection of short stories, Unwelcome Bodies, had recently come out and her brilliant and depressing stories were just what I needed to read at that time. So when I saw her first novel was coming out, I knew I had to get it.

Machine is a breathtaking achievement. One sits in awe at the imagination and psychological detail that has gone into the creation of the world of this story. It's nearly a century in the future and those with currently incura...more
Brittany
This is a tough one, and I'm probably going to be thinking about this book for a long time. It was a strange, thought-provoking, very disturbing, character-driven story that I probably won't ever want to re-read. The writing was very good, although stark, but my Kindle copy had a lot of (annoying) grammatical errors. I really liked the futuristic world that Pelland built, and the fact that she didn't infodump or even really explain most of the daily-life technological advances. It was very belie...more
Jon Swanson
Very strange and dark.

People suffering from incurable diseases are able to copy themselves into bio-androids, putting their real bodies into stasis while they wait for medical technology to cure them. Non-medical use of this technology, at least in the states, is strictly prohibited.

A part of this book is how American society, pessimistically projected from our current trend of heavy religiosity and anti-science, deal with this european developed transhuman tech. That part is pretty weak.

The ma...more
Rrain
I didn't actually mean to read this book last night. There were a few other books before it in my queue, but I clicked on it accidentally and thought, what the heck, I'll read a few pages before bed. I didn't put it down again until I was finished, ignoring all basic human necessities such as sleep, water and bathroom breaks in my urgency to reach the end.

I'm fascinated by the deep and thorough examination of body and self, and I'm particularly enamoured of the unreliable narrator, used so brill...more
Chris
I like the questions that Jennifer Pelland poses about bioandroids and the future of humanity. The story is good and Celia's character reacts realistically if you were put in her shoes, but the ending left me a little disappointed because I thought C2 was destined for starting a revolution after all the let downs and betrayals she experienced. It is hard for me to figure out if Pelland who expands what it means to be human is cautioning us about becoming to andoidlike with the realistic ending b...more
Jeff
Really enjoying this one so far--the descriptions of what it would be like to be a mind in a purely mechanical body are quite vivid. Also, it's got queer characters, and some naughty bits.

Turns out there are *quite a few* naughty bits.

Liked this book quite a bit. Pelland has some complex ideas to explore, and she touches on a lot of interesting concepts--I wish that she had explored them a little bit more in-depth, even. I would have edited out at least a few of the "a machine doesn't feel" li...more
akc
Jul 09, 2012 akc rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own, ebooks
A well-written and captivating tale set in the not-too-distant future (2090s). Celia, who is afflicted with a rare genetic problem that will fry her brain, opts to have her consciousness downloaded into an android replica of her body while her organic body is held in stasis, thus giving medical research time to find a cure for her. The procedure is highly controversial, with conservatives and mostly the religious right making the country a hostile and dangerous place for those who have chosen to...more
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Jennifer Pelland lives just outside Boston, sharing her home with an Andy and three cats. She’s been a published short fiction author since 2002, with stories appearing in such venues as Strange Horizons, Abyss and Apex, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Tales of the Unanticipated, and Apex Digest.

(Photo by Andrew Benson.)
More about Jennifer Pelland...
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