Bookshelf – Annie Bot, Sierra Greer

Be careful what you wish for, wheezes the cautionary bromide, or you just might find yourself overcome by it.

This vexatious thought traverses the easily troubled mind of Doug, a thirty-ish New York bro possessing no last name but enough cash to buy what he always wanted: the perfect girlfriend, a beauty who cooks and cleans and services his libidinous desires, doing it all with the smiling compliance of a high-class robot, which, in fact, is what she is.

In Annie’s company, Doug has never been better fed or better bedded – especially since he had Annie designed to look just like his ex. Being autodidactic, Annie becomes more and more humanlike, which also thrills Doug – until she acquires some of the lesser qualities of the species.

Annie is a Stella, a sentient blend of a CPU, AI, and a human embryo. She is capable of being a nurturing nanny, an efficient housekeeper, or an insatiable pleasure partner when switched to Cuddle Bunny mode, Doug’s preferred option. She is the best $220,000 can buy.

Danger, Will Robinson!

It turns out the complexities of human relationships remain intact even when one of the partners needs to carry a charging station with her. When “Annie Bot” moves beyond the story of a boy with a toy (these passages are NSFW), it reaches for a morality tale of endangered male dominance vs. awakening female independence – the eternal clash of the chromosomes. At minimum, “Annie Bot” is a well-told preview of an inevitable future. At its best, it is an admonitory tale of powerful machines possessing the failings of the humans who design them.

“Annie Bot” is Greer’s first published book, and there are moments where this shows through (what does Doug do for living? why is Annie alternately bold and timorous? who is that guy at the end?), but there are not enough lapses not to recommend the book.