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Automatic Reload

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  156 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Ferrett Steinmetzs quirky, genre-mashing cyberpunk romance Automatic Reload: a high-octane adventure about a grizzled mercenary with machine gun arms who unexpectedly falls in love with a bio-engineered assassin

In the near-future, automation is king, and Mat is the top mercenary working the black market. He’s your solider’s solider, with military-grade weapons instead of
ebook, 288 pages
Published July 28th 2020 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  156 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best cyborg romance that I've read all year! Well, it's also the only cyborg romance that I've read all year. ...more
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I came into this read with certain expectations. I've read five of his other novels and while many of them had serious moments, they were (on the whole) rather funny or even deeply amusing while also kicking major SF (or UF) butt.

This one, at least by the blurb, gave me a feeling like this would be a fast, furious, and funny romance with massive cyborg hardware wrapped in a romance.

What I found was a serious work met with quiet humor, an empathic romance born of anxiety, compassion, and
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my second book by this author. Well, technically, this is the first one of his I've finished. Which is not to say that the other isn't good, I'm just in a weird place these days (figuratively and literally) and my reading is ... irregular. In fact, I liked the unfinished first so much that I was immediately on board for this latest novel.

Matt is the male MC here. He's a fighter, a veteran even. At one point, he lost his left arm in the war and replaced it (overcompensating) with a machin
If you are looking for an action-packed cyberpunk extravaganza about retooled bodyhacking mercenaries, then you’ve come to the right place. Matt has voluntarily replaced his limbs with cybernetic assault weapons although besides the bullets, tasers, and medics, his legs also contain a humidor filled with expensive cigars. Being a bodyhacked mercenary may not be everyone’s cup of tea, particularly if you are morally quandaried and suffer from PTSD. And when you meet your cybernetic match, you fin ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

After a string of disappointing reads, I was in desperate need of a certain kind of fast-paced, action-packed frivolity—the kind I was certain Ferrett Steinmetz could provide, if my experience with his ‘Mancer series was anything to go on. And I was right. While on the surface, Automatic Reload might have been a novel of pure mindless escapism, it was also the perfect remedy to lift me out of my reading funk.

The story ta
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally published at Reading Reality

Automatic Reload was a wild ride from beginning to end. The kind of wild ride you get when you cross cyberpunk with dystopia and throw in a bit of romantic suspense for spice – and extra body. Make that bodies, definitely plural, bodies.

The genre of this book has been bent so much that it’s a pretzel. But I LOVE pretzels – and I’m sure I’m not alone.

The future that is posited in this story reminded me of a lot of things, and not just the idea that this is a
Greg Chatham
Jul 27, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Okay, so this one is on me. 😅

As a general rule, if an author refers to Glocks or "locks" in the first few pages, it's time for me to move on to another book. And although Ferret Steinmetz does nothing so pedestrian here, it's immediately apparent that the narrator of Automatic Reload is going to be talking about his guns-- well, his gun arms-- like, A LOT.

So setting aside that this book clearly isn't for me, it's mostly well-written, the futuristic weaponry follows a consistent logic, and the au
Lynn Williams
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 of 5 stars
I loved the Mancer series by Ferrett Steinmetz and so when I saw the description for Automatic Reload it was something of a no-brainer that I wanted this book in my life. Here’s a short snippet of the original description to give you something of an idea:

‘Ferrett Steinmetz‘s quirky, genre-mashing cyberpunk romance Automatic Reload a high-octane adventure about a grizzled mercenary with machine gun arms who unexpectedly falls in love with a bi
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kris Sellgren
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cats, reviewed
This science fiction novel is graphically violent, with endless battles and car chases. But buried in there is a thoughtful examination of PTSD and panic disorders, their coping mechanisms, and the toll these take on the family and friends of those afflicted. There is also a weird but sweet romance (traumatized cyborg mercenary meets traumatized home inspector). Those, and the ethical issues raised about drone warfare and automating humans out of jobs, led me to skim the fights and read the rest ...more
a hooded figure from your friendly neighbourhood dog park
I'm really into hardcore body modding stories, and the mix of action and anxiety SEEMED like it was going to remind me of Murderbot (in a good way), but then ca. page 60... there's a horrific cat death.

I lost a kitten this year and that's a MASSIVE trigger for me, so... nope. DNF 1/3 in.
jonathan finn
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great read..

Ferrett Steinmetz has steadily climbed to become one of my favourite writers mainly because he writes like I read which is to say mainly in the SFF genre but with each of his books being widely different in tone, topic and style.

Since he finished the mancer trilogy, his take on urban fantasy he has published three standalone s that are firmly in the SF genre each with a distinct concept Automatic Reload is his latest on the surface it’s a twist on the standard rom com, but go
Susanna Parker
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, net-galley
Open up with a hostage situation that has the potential to go very bad, very quickly. Then introduce our protagonist, a former US military drone operator turned “bodyhacker” named Mat. Then introduce Mat’s pressing need to reduce ‘incidental damage’ (a side effect of his time as a drone operator), a nefarious international organization known as The Yak, and a job offer he can’t refuse. Throw in some PTSD, a rival body hacker who knows how to hold a grudge, and a bioweapon with panic attacks, and ...more
As long as you don’t expect too much from it, Ferrett Steinmetz’s Automatic Reload is a fun and exciting techno-action romp. Steinmetz’s premise—that in the near future, warfare and combat have evolved to be dominated by drone technology and augmented humans featuring AI-controlled cyborg-ish prosthetic limb weaponry—allows him to draw upon his programming background to geek out about the endless hours of maintenance and optimization that would presumably be involved if this sort of quasi-plausi ...more
5 / 5 ✪

A cyborg with a conscience. A genetically enhanced assassin who suffers panic attacks. A love story for the ages—albeit kind of an odd one. A cyberpunk-romance about two heavily augmented badasses who take on the world, and have a breakdown when it gets to be too much. A couple that is more machine than man, but turn out to be more human than most of us.

I could go on, but you get the gist.

Mat is one the best at what he does—a black-market merc with
Trash Panzer
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[Note: Received an ARC from the author.]

To be honest, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book, but I ended up loving it. I've enjoyed Steinmetz's previous work, but... I guess this is one of those stories where some authors would try to make it into some sort of gritty/edgy cyberpunk thing and it would just end up not being especially remarkable, and that's what one would often expect of it. But Steinmetz successfully manages to make it feel (as it says on the cover) like a "rom-com wi
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Holy crap, this book was good. Not perfect, but a real thrill ride full of a sympathetic, believable characters fighting their way through a dystopia that doesn't know it's a dystopia. It's military scifi hardware with a conscience and a heart. It's a scathing commentary on the endgame of capitalism and technology. It's an ode to humanity in all of our human frailties and batshit courage. I read it in two days, because I just. Could not take a breath.

Warnings for folks: there's a lot of violence
Feb 09, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
PW Starred: " A cyborg mercenary works to protect a genetically enhanced woman from a powerful corporation in this consistently surprising, hyperkinetic action adventure from Steinmetz (The Sol Majestic). Former drone operator Mat, now more machine than man, is obsessed with preventing casualties on his oft-violent missions. Despite his reluctance to work for the shadowy International Access Corporation, Mat accepts a lucrative job protecting one of its packages in transit. But when he discovers ...more
Nov 08, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The author's note at the end says he was inspired to write this story of a cyborg who's obsessive about the care and cleaning of his mechanical bits by reading another novel where the cyborg never did routine maintenance. He found it frustrating that it was never a plot point. I think I need to look up the other book.

Once it was established that Mat -- our hero here -- was actually clinically obsessive about planning and preparation, I would have happily taken it as read that he was doing that s
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Steinmetz, Ferrett. Automatic Reload. Tor, 2020.
Ferrett Steinmetz is becoming one of my favorite authors. I was very fond of the quirky Sol Majestic, which is about a boy who goes on a vision quest to find his “inevitable philosophy” and learn haute cuisine on a far-future space station. Automatic Reload is a much different sort of book. Its hero is a near future mercenary who specializes in rescuing kidnap victims for corporate clients. He is a quadriplegic who has replaced his missing limbs wi
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mat has some issues with PTSD. A former drone pilot, Mat ended up killing a child during a strike. It wasn't the first time collateral damage had occurred but was the first time it really hurt. Insurgents struck back at another time leaving Mat without one of his arms. So he had it replaced with exchangeable cybernetics. Then the other arm and both his legs. Now working as a mercenary Mat makes sure his (semi)autonomous weapons won't take innocent lives. Mat only takes the good jobs - hostage re ...more
Henry Lazarus
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matt a former drone pilot with nightmares about killing people, has replaced his arms and legs with artificial limbs that are also weapons with Automatic Reload (paper from TOR). In an age where computers have taken most jobs, Mat is hired to rescue kidnap victims and other jobs. He obsessively maintains his limbs and plans his jobs to avoid civilian death. He takes a high pay job with other cyborgs guarding a package delivery for IAC, the most evil corporation on Earth. Unfortunately in an atta ...more
Pam Desjardine
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a book I would have normally picked to read at random; not knowing the author. However, an enterprising member of our Science Fiction Book Club, out of Victoria BC
( which has been together, meeting monthly, for over 20 years) DID choose it in their rotation and low and behold, I loved it! What a concept! Self-inflicted cyborgs... What kind of work would YOU do if you had interchangeable electronic parts?

The first time I came across this conce
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I've been a longtime fan of Ferrett's writing, and so I was very excited to receive an ARC of his new book.

It did not disappoint. Ferrett has a knack for creating real and believable characters. Mat is a body-hacker with PTSD and Silvia is an AI-hybrid with Panic Disorder. I love that both characters are deeply flawed and they have to work together to overcome those flaws and win the day. The action stays tense without being over-the-top, and the romantic story is sweet and genuine.

Basically, re
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recent Reads: Automatic Reload. Ferrett Steinmetz's cyborg chase-scene love-story is more than a neurodivergent Mr and Mrs Smith. It's questions of morality, of how we live broken, and how we dismantle the systems of the world. The future is what we make it, as long as we love.

If The Sol Majestic was a meditation on life, love, and the power of organised labour, then Automatic Reload is a call to action in a time of automation and self-optimising systems. These are books about the dignity of hum
Nov 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is brutally beautiful, both for the intense action driven stuff and for the emotional stuff. Here is someone who can make something be both funny and compassionate and also do cool action movie sequences all in the same book.

This book is also very much a 2020 book (yes I know that books are generally written in the year before they get published but that just means they are full of all the stuff that led up to that year)

which kinda made it a prefect book for me to be reading during the
keikii Eats Books
I can genuinely say I did NOT expect that ending. What in the world was that?

I have a lot of complex thoughts about this book that I'll sort through for the full review. I can say that this is not the weirdest romance I've ever read, but there aren't many weirder.

ARC received from Tor books on Edelweiss. This did not affect my review.

To read more reviews, check out my blog keikii eats books!
Kari Reads
Loads of action. Good pacing. The interaction between the characters feels genuine. The mental health problems of the characters are treated in a way that feels respectful and honest, and those problems do not keep them from being complete badasses.

But the ending. Oh, that ending. 4 stars for everything up to about the last 20 pages.

But don't let that stop you from reading the book. It's really an enjoyable thrill ride.
Penn Davies
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about high technology and whiz-bang guns and how to optimize them to find the perfect firefight. It's also about how to deal with the fact that it's humans that make the decisions, and humans are fundamentally broken (these ones more than most).
I've have varying opinions about Ferrett's previous books, I think it's his best. It's a glorious festival of action and tense strategy, but also a deep investigation on how two (or more) broken people navige their own neuroses.
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This took me a minute to get into, because it's pretty over the top. The concept of a person willingly becoming a quadruple amputee in order to become a walking war crime hit me in a part of the feels that I usually don't appreciate. But there's a lot of real humanity in this, looking into the nature of people's damage and morality. And once the shoot-outs and car chases begin, turning pages just becomes, well, automatic. ...more
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After twenty years of wandering desolate as a writer, Ferrett Steinmetz attended the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop in 2008 and was rejuvenated. Since then, he's sold stories to Asimov's Science Fiction (twice!), Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, among others, and otherwise has a marvelous collection of very personalized rejection l ...more

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