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Extended Audio Sample vN Audiobook, by Madeline Ashby Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.53 out of 53.53 out of 53.53 out of 53.53 out of 53.53 out of 5 3.53 (17 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Madeline Ashby Narrator: Christina Traister Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Machine Dynasty Series Release Date: July 2012 ISBN: 9781469209197
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Amy Peterson is a von Neumann machine—a self-replicating humanoid robot. For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother’s past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks them, young Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive.

Now she’s on the run, carrying her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive. She’s growing quickly, and learning too. Like the fact that in her, and her alone, the failsafe that stops all robots from harming humans has stopped working.… Which means that everyone wants a piece of her, some to use her as a weapon, others to destroy her.

“Ashby’s debut is a fantastic adventure story that carries a sly philosophical payload about power and privilege, gender and race. It is often profound, and it is never boring.” —Cory Doctorow

vN might just be the most piercing interrogation of humanoid AI since Asimov kicked it all off with the Three Laws.” —Peter Watts

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Quotes & Awards

  • A 2013 Locus Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom Tjarks | 2/20/2014

    " An enjoyable story about robots that can adapt. There are discussions and descriptions of less than desirable behavior, but they are few and all relevant to the story. Can recommend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alain van Hoof | 2/19/2014

    " Very Nice "Cyborg" here called Van Neumann (vN) Sci-Fi. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Morgan | 1/25/2014

    " Loathed this book. It took an idea I found fascinating and then filled it with dull characters. I found Amy a painful, boring protagonist and that ruined the whole tale. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teresa | 1/20/2014

    " Looking for something different? This book starts with a now classic trope of science fiction: a world of humans and robots (in this case, "organics" and "von Neumann machines") living cooperatively and then shatters it into something wonderfully and breathtakingly new. With a fast paced, action packed plot, as well as a fascinating and well developed near future setting; this book does nothing but succeed on a structural level. What I loved about this story is that Ashby drops the reader right in the middle of some of the uglier implications of a world full of AI and forces us to confront the resulting moral quagmire. The origin story of the robots is a stroke of twisted brilliance. The best ideas at the heart of the story are reminiscent of Le Guin or Herbert in the complexity of their scope and Ashby's insights are profound. However, this is both an achievement and a failing, because the book, for whatever reason, isn't up to the task of exploring its own themes at the depth warranted. In final analysis, the story succeeds at the level of a good screenplay, but it has the bones of a potential new classic. Nevertheless, this is a spectacularly entertaining debut. Madeline Ashby is undoubtedly a writer to watch. If this book is any indication she's destined to create great things. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Max Mattison | 1/16/2014

    " Okay, so i'm a SciFi fanatic, what can i say. It was a great book if you like Robots, and i like Robots. Really indepth SciFi, not for everyone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike Moore | 1/10/2014

    " Very cool story centered on the lives of "artificial" intelligence on the cusp of entering nationhood. The ending kind of left me wanting more consequence, more resolution, but I'm okay with the ambiguity. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deniz | 1/1/2014

    " wondering when katy and lexie will finally finish the book. need someone to discuss it with!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 12/28/2013

    " Fresh take on AI and robotics, a good story with some interesting ideas. Kind of a AI/Bladerunner mashup in novel form. Looking forward to more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam Goetz | 12/14/2013

    " Amy, the protagonist, plays the role of *everywoman* and Ms. Ashby, the author, utilizes her as a guide to take the reader on a gritty journey through the bowels of a not so fictional society. <3 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zachariah Carlson | 9/18/2013

    " AI, cybernetics, incest, violence, religion...this book is a wild ride. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 9/16/2013

    " A Bladerunder tale for the 21st century. Ashby's vN is the other side of the story - the articial lives on the run from authorities. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Madeleine Drake | 9/14/2013

    " Ultra violent femme androids, tons of Blade Runner/Electric Sheep references and an excellent exploration of Asimov's rules of robotics. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzanne Rooyen | 6/2/2013

    " The world described in this book is fascinating and complex. I also really enjoyed Ashby's take on the robot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 J.C. Hart | 2/27/2013

    " review to come. I need to mull on this one for awhile. I really enjoyed parts of it, but at the same time there were bits where I went 'huh?'. Once I've figured out how I really feel I'll write a proper review. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brenda Cooper | 12/24/2012

    " Fresh eyes on an old SF trope. I enjoyed the read, found it paced very nicely with plot elements twisting into surprises throughout. This felt more polished than most first novels, and I highly recommend. Of particular interest to near-future SF readers and writers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephen West | 10/10/2012

    " A fresh look at an old SF topic, human-robot relations. Touching and clever but occasionally hard going. Wasn't crazy about the ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kdooley | 8/30/2012

    " I wanted to love this more than I actually did. "

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About the Author
Madeline Ashby grew up in a household populated by science fiction fans. She graduated from a Jesuit university in 2005, after having written a departmental thesis on science fiction. After meeting Ursula K. LeGuin in the basement of the Elliott Bay Book Company that year, she decided to start writing science fiction stories. While immigrating to Canada from the United States in 2006 , she could not work or study and joined the Cecil Street Irregulars – a genre writers’ workshop founded by Judith Merril – instead. Since then she has been published in Tesseracts, Flurb, Nature, Escape Pod and elsewhere. She has a masters degree in Manga and Anime and writes on such matters for i09, Tor.com and BoingBoing. Currently she works as a strategic foresight consultant in Toronto.
About the Narrator

Christina Traister has worked nationally as a professional actor for over fifteen years with a career focusing on classical theater. She currently teaches acting, voice, and stage combat in the Department of Theatre at Michigan State University, and lives in the country with her husband and three daughters.