| 2.5 HEARTS--Wizards, magical tattoos and a ginger haired cyborg can be found in A.M. Hawke's The Cyborg He Brought Home. The title literally tells the plot of the sci-fi/fantasy mashup.
Jake is a mage, or wizard, the details are a little fuzzy. What isn't fuzzy is he lives in a settlement of wizards called Greentree where there are magic trees and magic tattoos all over folk. Technology isn't revered as magic. While drinking in the local wizard bar, in walks a cyborg. Which sounds like the start of possibly an awesome story but that's pretty much all there is.
We learn the cyborg's name is Cory. He's from a moon colony and on an information seeking trip on wizard colonies. There is instant dislike from most of the magical practicing folk except from Jake.
Jake is fascinated by the mechanical eyes, copper wire hair and Cory's fascination with the simplest magic. The story plot wise? Doesn't offer much. It's about 10K and I'm reviewing an uncorrected, unedited ARC. The entire thing read closer to an outline - there were two scenes: initial meeting and then going home to have sex. The lack of chemistry was an issue for me. I couldn't buy it between Cory and Jake, which hung like a grey cloud for the rest of this very short story.
The world created was an interesting idea. I like that tattoos were conduits of magic. The Nature vs. Machines idea, if developed, could have been something. If the entire story was more developed, it could have been magical. It was more of cool ideas and concepts (wizards in nature, cyborgs living on the moon, MAGIC TATTOOS!) and meh a sex scene. *shrugs*
I will say Cory was the stronger developed character of the pair. I'd have enjoyed reading more back story on him. There were inklings of story possibilities when he spoke briefly on moon life. I believe this was my first trans cyborg I've ever read. It was Jake's first trans partner, so he asked a lot of questions. Cory was cool with them.
The story ends with a possible HFN. It's a first time hook up, so who knows what the future holds for Jake and Cory?
Overall, interesting concepts, but the execution is underdeveloped. If this is ever re-edited or re-released in the future, I'll take a peek.
A copy provided via Netgalley for an honest review.
FOUR HEARTS--Well this was a fun little ride...
New to me author Asta Idonea delivered a cool little tale about a lonely bartender and a service Bot, named Jo-E in the not too distant future in a little town you might've heard of called London.
"You make me feel so many things, Fane. When I think of you, my cogs clench and my gears grind. Electricity sparks inside of me, and power pools in my chest and groin, pulsing there, desperate for release. Do you not experience the same?"
Fane, a bartender at a seedy gay bar named Spunk. An orphan just barely scraping by sees what he thinks is a body in a dumpster and ends up winning a jackpot in the bot lottery. An expensive prototype called Joe-E that was damaged by able to be fixed by Fane. Fane fixes the Bot, but something is different. Bots are made to serve humans, not in the sexy way because it's illegal. But he can't help his attraction no matter how hard he fights it. And what's more curiouser is Jo-E reacts and feels like a human. The lines are beginning to blur.
Now, I'll admit. I read the blurb and I jumped to read this because robot sex.
You know you were thinking it too.
Well maybe not this image exactly...
"Uh, Jo-E, probably best not to tell the guy you were making love to that you were thinking of other things while he was jerking you off."
"I do not understand, Fane. Only 15 percent of my capacity was assigned to the problem. The remaining 85 percent was focused on you."
This story does deliver one erotic scene but what's more important is the sexual tension and budding desire between Bot and human. The author thankfully wrote alternating POV. Fane is a good guy who just didn't win the life lottery. The struggle is totally real in his case. But Jo-E was the one who clinched it for me. Reading Jo-E's thoughts and processes were a delight.
"Hours passed as Jo-E pondered. Outside, the sky turned from #58D3F7 to #F5BCA9 to #0B0B3B."
I actually looked it up on the Color Hexa (color encyclopedia) and it was accurate! How cool was it to describe time changes in code. (BTW, #F5BCA9 is a fave color of mine) Reading him become human like (well as close as the AI could do), reacting to Fane and being the pursuer in their relationship was pretty damn cool.
Sadly, the story wasn't just about man and Bot falling in love. There was a little suspense too. Jo-E's original owner wanted him back and did a few shady things to get Jo-E back in his greedy clutches. Eh...the villain and that plot point, the main idea of it was needed but it could have been a little sharper for me in some aspects.
The villain, an evil, overweight professor who doesn't like to get his hands dirty but loves the food. *sigh* The fat jeering: eats so much cake, looks like a "doughnut", etc...it got old pretty quick. Thankfully, it wasn't a major part of the story, but it stuck out for me. I think the villain could've been a little more detailed. He's a genius, right? He's worried more about eating and ordering others around instead of handling the retrieval himself. Or at least in charge more instead of being so lazy.
Even with the lamer villain, the story and the romance was a nice one. I really enjoyed the concept and the main theme. The HEA was tied up in a neat bow. I'd definitely read more from this author.
*I have won this book through Goodreads giveaways for an honest and unbiased review.
I tried, I really did. I have given it my best, every month I would try anew to read a little bit and a little bit more but I'm sorry to say that I just can't find any reasoning with this book or its author. If I could, I would go back in time and never ever enter this giveaway to begin with.
As you may have already concluded, I didn't like the book. I don't agree with it. I am not a believer and I know that scripture can be explained in many ways, depending on which side you stand on. I am not here to discuss religion though. Maybe this book would find more appreciation in the hands of a truly "blessed soul" as the author calls them and in the "perfect robot of the Lord" or "Jesus".
Main premise the author proposes is this:
"The sovereignty of God stands on the statute that God has allowed man limited control in the natural world, but no control in the Spiritual world. However, man can operate in the Spiritual when God programs and controls him, not exactly like a robot, but closer to a robot than a free independent agent. Spiritual Robotics is through faith, the DNA code of God, when planted into a human heart produces a righteous walk in step with the signals, anointing, commands and will of God. "
And in chapter three where the author explains the analogy to a robot he claims:
"When Holy Spirit is leading, man does not sin. The robot analogy is about the nature of God controlling the heart of man".
In chapter ten he goes even further to say this:
"Just as God can control nature, God can control man. Like a robot of Jesus, man writes Scripture, speaks in different languages, builds an ark and travels the land to evangelize. These acts glorify the Creator's ability to control man."
In chapter twelve there is no mistaking it:
"Man is blessed because His Creator is blessed and in control. If the Lord was not in control and the free will of man was honored without restraints, man would not be blessed. A robot of Jesus is blessed by the control from His Creator.
My viewpoint on the author's.
I cannot imagine what the author is saying. I just cannot imagine God having such a hold on man and his heart to say he controls him completely and all men are made with restraints to suit God's will. And those who aren't are the damned, right?
In total 255 pages of this book concludes to this: You are made and controlled, you are going through life controlled, you were never free, you will never be free because in the Spiritual, even more than in Natural world, God is controlling you, your heart/soul/body. You are not given free will. God is only blessed and happy when you obey his command.
Now, if you agree with the premise stated above, I recommend this book to you. Please, I'll even mail you my copy. But if you don't agree with the fact that even your heart is controlled by God then please move along. Because author to support all his claims goes even that far to dispute some of the Scripture's translations to suit his purpose.
Like I mentioned before, maybe I am after all not the best person to review this book but as Roman Catholic born and raised and as an agnostic now I can tell you I simply cannot bring myself to believe this premise.
About the book. Cover is done pretty nicely, font is done very visibly and easy to read, there are no grammar/spelling mistakes that I could see and the author does have a knack for writing and trying to make you believe something with his nice words and somewhat compelling Scripture explanations. But not to me, dear author. Thank you for the copy and I hope you truly believe what you're selling.
Twenty years after the robot war, humanity is still healing from their losses. To protect themselves, anything even slightly mechanical or electrical has to be created in a simulation and approved first, to reduce the chance of another disaster. Joel, a simulation engineer student, finds himself thrown into a nightmare when he finds out that his new internship assignment is to work on a robot...
But is Jerry a robot?
The title of the novella claims that Jerry is not, but the reader will need to make his or her own decision based on the facts of the story. Tying Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics to human decency - and perhaps even a little revenge - this short story is sure to please most lovers of science fiction, and shows that a tale can pack a surprising amount of information and wonder into just fifty pages.
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