The holy machine
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The holy machine

  • Paperback
By (author) Chris Beckett

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George Simling has grown up in the city-state of Illyria, an enclave of logic and reason founded as a refuge from the Reaction, a wave of religious fundamentalism that swept away the nations of the twenty-first century. Yet to George, Illyria's militant rationalism is as stifling as the faith-based superstition that dominates the world outside its walls. For George has fallen in love with Lucy. A prostitute. A robot. She might be a machine, but the semblance of life is perfect. To the city authorities, robot sentience is a malfunction, curable by erasing and resetting silicon minds. But George knows that Lucy is something more. His only alternative is to flee Illyria, taking Lucy deep into the religious Outlands where she must pass as human because robots are seen as mockeries of God, burned at the stake, dismembered, crucified. Their odyssey leads them through betrayal, war and madness, ending only at the monastery of the Holy Machine...

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  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 22mm | 140g
  • 05 Dec 2013
  • ATLANTIC BOOKS
  • London
  • 1782394036
  • 9781782394037
  • 467,680

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Author Information

Chris Beckett is a university lecturer living in Cambridge. He has written over 20 short stories, many of them originally published in Interzone and Asimov's. He is the winner of the Edge Hill Short Story competition, 2009, for The Turing Test, as well as the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke award, 2013, for Dark Eden.

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Review quote

Beckett examines the interface between human and machine, rationalism and the religious impulse, with sparse prose and acute social commentary of a latter-day Orwell --Guardian Let's waste no time: this book is incredible --Interzone One of the most accomplished novel debuts to attract my attention in some time... A triumph --Asimov's Should be on the radar of anyone who professes concern for science fiction as a literary form --Alastair Reynolds

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