Suzanne Lazear's Reviews > Android Karenina

Android Karenina by Ben H. Winters
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's review
Nov 21, 2010

Full review at Steamed!

This retelling of Tolstoy’s classic tale of love and betrayal brings us into an alternate version of 19th Century Russia full of amazing technology, adventure, and robots. Winters does an excellent job of blending the gloomy feel of Pre-Revolutionary Russia with futuristic technology and modernism creating a believable and interesting tale that feels familiar yet is deliciously different. The amazing illustrations only add to it.

From the very first line of the story we know we’re in for an adventurous romp through the genres. Functioning Robots are all alike; every malfunctioning robot malfunctions in its own way.

Like in the original, we follow the torrid affairs of Anna Karenina with Count Alexei Vronsky and Nikolai Levin with Princess Kitty Shcherbatskaya. This version adds a new layer–trouble brewing between man and machine and scientific revolutionaries who act against the upper-class. Our couples must use all their resources and technology to save their world in this sci-fi meets steampunk in this alternate classic.

The Iron Laws of Robot Behavior are well thought out and if you think hard enough could be an analogy for the socialist and moral laws governing our own behavior and what could happen if they’re broken. The interactions between the characters and their android companions are fun and some of the most creative bits in the story. Perhaps if Tolstoy had grown up reading Asimov he may have written something like this himself.

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