About the BookIn this disturbing and powerful meditation on consciousness and individuality, Scott Westerfeld captures everything that is wonderful about pure science fiction, but does it at a cost of brutality to his characters. He uses technology to assess something important about human beings--in this case, what makes us sentient, and what part memory plays in our humanity.
Despite the ship captain's best efforts, his navigational computer achieves a Turing level, indicating sentience. When the machine intimately befriends his daughter, the captain tries to have it erased, only to find that his daughter is willing to betray him to preserve her symbiotic love.
Centuries later, the immortally bereft machine, now a being called Darling, searches the universe for meaning and tries not to remember the darkness of his past. When a human assassin on a mission to destroy an AI artist encounters Darling, they begin a relationship that is beyond intense, with a violent sexuality and a deep connection that ultimately calls into question their nature as separate entities.
Westerfeld, the author of Polymorph and Fine Prey, creates a difficult and ultimately despairing future for humans, but one of hope and potential for the artificial intelligences that inherit the mantle of evolution. Beauty, faith, and the power of love are the things that save Darling, if not the humans he remembers, from the maw of oblivion. --Therese Littleton