Machines Like Me

We are always highly excited to welcome to My Bookshop a new work by one of our favorite British writers, Ian McEwan. The 1998 Booker Prize winner prods his readers, he provokes, he sometimes enrages us – but we are never bored. As our bookseller Corrie Perkin says, “Whatever the topic he tackles – love, secrecy, misconceptions, moral dilemma, guilt, treachery, or in the case of Machines Like Me, the confronting role of new technologies in our lives – Ian McEwan never fails to engage his audience.His ideas are bold, his writing beautiful, and his characters’ conversations are utterly mesmeric.”

Machines Like Meis set in 1980s London. Margaret Thatcher has lost the Falklands War, the Beatles have re-united, and eminent mathematician and logician Alan Turing is still alive, aged 70, and taking bold steps in the world of Artificial Intelligence. Against this backdrop we meet 30-something Charlie, who has just come into a large inheritance and decides to buy a new invention – a synthetic human called Adam. With his girlfriend Miranda’s help, Charlie designs Adam’s personality in an attempt to create the perfect companion. But nothing – or no one – is ever perfect, or quite as they seem, as Charlie discovers.

Early reviews of Machines Like Mehave been favourable. Marcel Theroux in The Guardianlast week observed, “the book touches on many themes: consciousness, the role of chance in history, artificial intelligence, the neglected Renaissance essayist Sir William Cornwallis, the formal demands of the haiku and the unsolved P versus NP problem of computer science, but its real subject is moral choice.”

In his fabulous review in the New Yorker, Julian Lucas describes Ian McEwan as “a master of the domestic quarrel, which, in his works, is regularly intensified by the introduction of a third party: a precocious child in Atonement, a stalker with de Clérambault’s syndrome in Enduring Loveor, in this case, an artificial man with Kantian morals and a fully functional phallus.” (Click hereto read review)

The main criticisms of Machines Like Merelate mostly to the author’s philosophical meanderings at different points in the novel. But as Publishers Weeklywrites: “Though the reader may wish for a tighter story, this is nonetheless an intriguing novel about humans, machines, and what constitutes a self.”

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