Title: Auxiliary: London 2039 by Jon Richter
Published by: TCK Publishing
Publication date: 1st May 2020
Genre: Science Fiction
London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.
And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.
Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.
A chip controlled by TIM.
Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine.
Thank you to TCK Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
I don’t typically gravitate towards science fiction but I couldn’t resist Auxiliary: London 2039 because of how intriguing it sounded. Just from reading the synopsis, it came across as dark fiction mixed with thriller/mystery and it didn’t disappoint. It was an incredibly engaging story and definitely packed a punch.
In 2039, London is controlled by hyper-advanced AI known as The Imagination Machine (TIM). People no longer need to work, cook or clean as robots do it for them. I don’t know about other people but I find that rather frightening, being so dependent on AI, especially to cook and communicate with others. What’s even more frightening is that I can picture the future looking like this as technology is constantly evolving and we’re becoming more dependent on AI machines. Ritcher has managed to create a terrifying but realistic new world and I was completely immersed in the story from the beginning. Just how well can you trust the machine you’re most dependent on to survive? It’s a scary thought when put into perspective.
Another notable theme in this futuristic world is that there’s very few jobs remaining and one of those professions is police detectives, which is where our main character, Carl Dremmler, comes in. He’s called to investigate the murder of a young woman and despite the killer being caught red-handed, he claims his robotic arm committed the crime, not him. I was really intrigued by this and couldn’t wait to see how Dremmler’s investigation played out.
I found Dremmler to be a very likeable character for many reasons. Firstly, I liked that he had an impartial view to the TIM, he neither loved nor hated the new technology and therefore, it felt like he was the best detective to investigate whether TIM is killing people or not. Secondly, he’s actually a flawed character as he has his own tragic backstory to do with his daughter, Natalie and there were moments where I thought he’d end it all but he’s a very strong and resilient character. He just picked himself back up and carried on with the investigation, even though he was risking his own life in the process.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot or I’ll risk giving it away, but it was an incredibly fast-paced story with twists in all the right places and what’s most impressive is the world-building. A futuristic world such as this requires very detailed and immersive writing, which Ritcher easily pulls off – at times it felt like I was right there exploring this AI-dominated world alongside Dremmler. The story didn’t let up once and I even found myself disappointed at times to return to my normal day job. I couldn’t wait to pick up my tablet and jump right back into this exciting world. I was still guessing what was going to happen next right up until the end and I never could have predicted that ending. It was shocking but a great way to end the series. I went into this book not knowing what to expect but it was a thrilling story from start to finish.
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