Liberation's Kiss | The Mad Scientist's Daughter

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I'm comparison reading a lot of robot-human love stories these days, and they really run the gamut. I tend to like robots more like Asimov's than (2004-9) Battlestar Galactica humanoid cylons which are really for all intents and purposes just more human characters with the occasional cyborg/mechanical oddity. (There are other things I liked about BG. Well, up through Season 2.)

Liberation's Kiss is squarely in the SF Romance camp: light on science, heavy on two young, beautiful characters finding wholeness & happiness by coming together. Worth reading as an example of the genre. My favorite scene was where she crawls inside his form fitting yet expandable suit which he then zips up to hide her. The feeling (safe, protected, skin-to-skin) was the emphasis, but the ungainly bizarreness of the image appealed to me.

I think that's indicative of what I was missing throughout: Philip K. Dick-style ungainliness, oddity, complication. But I respect that readers have different tastes, and I think there's more than enough room in the universe for a wide variety of SF.

The polar opposite is one of my new favorite books, Cassandra Rose Clarke's The Mad Scientist's Daughter, in which the setting is near future, realistic, and you never forget the robot is mechanical. Even when you're rooting for Cat and Finn, it's deeply disturbing, and the relationship they evolve is anything but straightforward. In fact, the times when Cat thinks it's uncomplicated are the moments she later matures to realize reflected her selfishness and how she too has denigrated his personhood, even while claiming to be a champion for his right to be a "he" instead of an "it." The style is lyrical; the emotion is gut-wrenchingly intense. I couldn't put it down.