Quirk Classics has come out with yet another great literary parody. This time author Ben H. Winters teams up with literary great Leo Tolstoy for the science fiction masterpiece Android Karenina. The result has everything a science fiction fan could wish for - robots (lots of them), giant worms coming out of the ground and eating people, alien creatures erupting out of people, and an intricate plot full of surprises. The famous love twists from Anna Karenina take place amidst all the disruption going on around them.
Has there ever been a time in your life when you wished that you didn’t have to do all of the work? A time when you wished that the even the seemingly menial tasks of housework, cooking, killing insects, or taking out the trash belonged to someone or something else? Enter 19th century Russia. The miracle metal, groznium, is more valuable than any diamond. This valuable metal is used to make the robots that are a part of everyone’s life in more ways than one. Do you need a governess for your children or a maid? Those are jobs for a Class II robot. A watch is needed to keep time or you need a way to kill the invading ants. Class I robots will do these menial tasks. There are even robots that mine this precious groznium. Enter a time when robots have taken over not only the burden of labor, but also the satisfaction humans derive from doing it.
Class III robots, thought by the people to be the highest and most advanced robots available, are companions. They are not supposed to feel emotion, but they mimic the emotions of their owners, comforting them when needed. They also retain their master’s memories and play them back when requested.
There is unrest in society, though. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UnConSciya) are rebelling against the government’s control of technological advancement. The acts of terrorism that take place, such as emotion bombs (bombs that are set off around intense emotion), are attributed to them.
Then one day, the Class III robots - the companion robots - are recalled by the government in order for adjustments to be made. The adjustments supposedly fail. The Class III robots will not be returned to their owners, they will be used for scrap. Everyone is lost without their once closest companions. Over time, though, they adjust. The government may have recalled the Class III robots, but they are making other robots - the Toy Soldiers. These are not companions, but soldiers who will supposedly protect Russia from harm. Some of them even look human.
Some people watch for the arrival of the Honored Guests, an alien race, who are supposed to arrive in 3 different ways. Not everyone believes in the Honored Guests, but they do exist. And arrive they do - by popping out of people as 6 foot aliens who are planning to take over the planet. They escape out of tight spots by riding on giant robotic earthworms that pop out of the ground.
Next, the Class II robots are recalled. These are the servants - the governesses, the cooks, the butlers, the maids, etc. Now those who can afford it actually have to hire other people to do the work. How long before even the Class I robots are recalled and the people sent back to a primitive age without any robots at all?
Amidst all of this, the love affair between Anna and Vronsky is going strong. Anna’s husband, growing more evil day by day, does not stand in the way of Anna and her lover being together, but is ever so slow in granting Anna a divorce, thus making her an outcast of society.
The beginning of the story was good, but was not all that exciting for me. The Russian names slowed me down just a little. Before the story begins, there is a note talking about Russian names and a list of major characters. Once I became used to the names, the story flowed better and the book became hard to put down.
I’m not going to give the ending away. That just wouldn’t be right. I will just say that the story is full of events that will shock you. For the last hundred pages or so, the book is nigh impossible to lay down. I did enjoy the book greatly. The more I read, the more I became hooked.
A copy of Android Karenina was sent to me free of charge by Quirk Classics, the publishers, who are giving away 25 Quirk Prize Packs. The below link will send you to a message board on QuirkClassics.com. Once there, you need to mention where you heard about the contest (the BellaOnline Fiction Writing site) and you will be automatically entered to win one of the prize packs, the retail value of each is nearly $100.00. The prize packs include the following:
*Pride and Predjudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith
*How to Survive a Horror Movie by Seth Grahame-Smith
*Dracula’s Heir: An Interactive Mystery by Sam Stall
*Extreme Encounters by Greg Emmanuel
*How to Tell if Your Boyfriend is The Antichrist by Patricia Carlin
An Android Karenina poster
If you would like to buy a copy of this book through Amazon, I have provided a link below. Happy reading!