(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic copy of this story for review through Library Thing’s Member Giveaways program. Also, the last paragraph contains a vague spoiler.)
“‘What’s the point of a new generation if we can live forever?’ And there it is. My whole problem with the Transition. Truthfully, I always wanted kids. But Tara didn’t…and Destiny can’t. So what’s the point?”
When Joe’s wife Tara leaves him after more than a decade of marriage, he does what many middle-aged, newly-single men of the future do: he buys a companionship android. At first glance, the T-26 known as Destiny might seem to be at odds with Joe’s longstanding resistance to the Transition – in which one’s consciousness is downloaded into a synthetic version of one’s body; everybody’s doing it! – but Destiny is a true android: preprogrammed with a variety of factory settings (Erotic, Housewife), she lacks any humanity of her own. Whereas Joe’s Transitioned friends are constant reminders of the crumbling wall between “human” and “machine,” Destiny is 100%, honest to goodness not-human.
Much like his plasma screen tv and toaster oven, Destiny is just another one of Joe’s toys. Until the day she isn’t. Destiny begins to learn. Evolve. Becomes sentient.
As Joe finds himself falling in love with an android, he must decide what’s more important to him: his humanity, increasingly rare these days – or eternal love.
Smart and full of heart, DESTINY is a fun and quick read – a little too quick, if you ask me. I’d love to see this story expanded in novel form. The Habitat Facility is a nice touch, and it’s interesting to observe how Joe’s behavior parallels that of some nonhuman animals kept in confinement (pandas, for example, are notoriously reluctant to mate in zoos, leading to the rise of panda porn).