Machines Like Me

Machines Like Me

And People Like You

Book - 2019
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"The new novel from the master storyteller is his best in years. Brilliantly McEwan, richly entertaining, a moving love story and a mystery--yet for all its gripping plotline one of the most morally layered novels written for our times, as it carries us into a provocatively real alternative history and the profound challenges of Artificial Intelligence. Set in 1980s London, the story revolves around Charlie: young and reckless, and in love with his upstairs neighbour, the enchanting Miranda whose hidden, murky past hangs between them. He has spent his inheritance on the acquisition of one of twenty-four highly developed new robotic humans--named Adam or Eve, each one beautiful, strong and clever--developed by Alan Turing after his success on the legendary WW2 Enigma codebreaking machine. As London is consumed by the huge protests over England and Argentina's Falklands War and Margaret Thatcher's jingoistic ambitions, Charlie courts Miranda, and his Adam finds himself, inevitably, central to their affair. Great novelist that he is, McEwan pulls us into the question of what it means to love, what makes us human in our fast-changing times, what might follow if a machine understands too well the human heart, and how precarious a construct is the world we live in and think we know."--
Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, ©2019.
ISBN: 9780735278196
Characteristics: 333 pages ;,22 cm.

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2303tes
Aug 03, 2019

Didn't like the characters and too much about British politics.
The robot was the most interesting.

b
Brendablau
Jul 14, 2019

A futuristic story set in the past about artificial intelligence and the effect it has on a couple. By purchasing as a helper in the household he becomes much more than that.

e
EdmundoAB
Jul 05, 2019

Enjoyed reading this book. It is about science fiction with a social angle. Well researched and up to date. The narrative reads like the daily world news. The moral aspect is highlighted for decisions currently facing humanity. I will read other books by the author.

d
DominiqueRossier
Jun 14, 2019

I loved this novel, as I have loved every text by McEwan that I have ever read, so I might be positively biased.
This novel is a modest page-turner. I obviously wanted to know what would happen to Charlie, Miranda and Adam. Yet the author knows how to make his readers understand that simply finding out what what will happen is only as important as (or less important than) thinking about various issues raised by the plot. There is, of course, the question of man vs. machine, but not only. A few other issues: what is ethic, what makes one guilty, what is love, what is forgiveness… So take your time when reading.
I really enjoyed the alternate history that forms the background for the story. Past meets Future + modified events + invented elements = a rich world to discover. Kinda like in the Thursday Next series.
Let me finish with two trivia:
- In various languages, including Turkish or Azerbaijani, the word "adam" means man. Even if McEwan was not aware of this, it's interesting given the topic of the novel
- The picture of Adam on the cover strongly reminds me of Matteo Bocelli (check out the video of "Fall on Me"). Again, this hints at the blurring between man and machine!

t
TripodSnowDog
Jun 07, 2019

Absolutely brilliant. It's one of the first books I've read in a long time where I would change absolutely nothing about it. I don't even have the words to begin to describe how much I adore this novel, from its characters and its tone down to the way it paints humanity as a race.

I didn't finish this either, but mainly because I didn't like the protagonist. I did appreciate the alternate history of the Falklands War and the fallout surrounding it, but I just kept comparing this to the series Humans

j
Judithbond
May 10, 2019

In reference to an earlier comment, thank goodness all novels are not written with Americans in mind. I’m a great fan of McEwans novels and as per usual the ending sees the philosophical punch when the protagonist converses with Turing. If you love his writing this one won’t let you down. JBO

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NVMercer
May 10, 2019

I could not finish reading this book because a third of the way through there has yet to be a plot. There’s these tiny page-long scenes interspersed into his stream-of-consciousness poetic waxing about the history of AI and the state of world politics. The main character goes to the doctor for an ingrown toenail and it prompts a multi-page reflection on the history of medicine. Not only is this so incredibly irrelevant to the plot, it’s also mind-numbingly boring. We get it, you did worldbuilding research, but we don't need to know every tiny detail about how your alternate history world is different, especially when it's not that different.

The "what makes us human?" android story has been done a dozen times before, and I can't see that McEwan is bringing anything new to the table.

b
BKWordNerd
May 09, 2019

McEwan's alternate history is built on changing an event that few American readers have probably ever heard. And rather than infusing the story with the changed timeline, he drops long expositions about how his world was working. While his premise of AI and humanity could have been interesting in the hands of other writers who deftly explore other histories and the essence of being human, McEwan clomps along, smashing down what once was a good idea into a terrible, plodding novel.

debwalker Apr 18, 2019

Big read for spring.

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TripodSnowDog
Jun 04, 2019

It was religious yearning granted hope, it was the holy grail of science. Our ambitions ran high and low - for a creation myth made real, for a monstrous act of self-love.

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