Title: The Automation
By: BLA and GB Gabbler
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: September 23rd,2014
Summary from Goodreads: The capital-A Automatons of Greco-Roman myth aren’t clockwork. Their design is much more divine. They’re more intricate than robots or androids or anything else mortal humans could invent. Their windup keys are their human Masters. They aren’t mindless; they have infinite storage space. And, because they have more than one form, they’re more versatile and portable than, say, your cell phone—and much more useful too. The only thing these god-forged beings share in common with those lowercase-A automatons is their pre-programmed existence. They have a function—a function their creator put into place—a function that was questionable from the start…
Odys (no, not short for Odysseus, thank you) finds his hermetic lifestyle falling apart after a stranger commits suicide to free his soul-attached Automaton slave. The humanoid Automaton uses Odys’s soul to “reactivate” herself. Odys must learn to accept that the female Automaton is an extension of his body—that they are the same person—and that her creator-god is forging a new purpose for all with Automatons…
The novel calls itself a “Prose Epic,” but is otherwise a purposeful implosion of literary clichés and gimmicks: A Narrator and an Editor (named Gabbler) frame the novel. Gabbler’s pompous commentary (as footnotes) on the nameless Narrator’s story grounds the novel in reality. Gabbler is a stereotypical academic who likes the story only for its so-called “literary” qualities, but otherwise contradicts the Narrator’s claim that the story is true.
THE AUTOMATION is a this-world fantasy that reboots mythical characters and alchemical concepts. Its ideal place would be on the same bookshelf as Wilson’s ALIF THE UNSEEN and Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS—though it wouldn’t mind bookending Homer, Virgil, and Milton, to be specific.
And, yes, "B.L.A. and G.B. Gabbler" are really just a pen name.
Review: There is a lot to be said about this book so I'll start with what I liked about it. The story was well written with characters that fit into the world well. I liked Odys way of looking at the world, it reminded me of my Autistic son and how everything has to be just right or the whole world ends. The Automations were interestingly portrayed and gave the story a sense of mystery.
The things that took away from the story for me were the narrator. I felt like every time he stepped in, I was taken away from the story. Interrupted, I guess. The whole setup of the book was unconventional, and I applaud the author for that, but it wasn't my style. This was more of a personal opinion than something wrong with the book.
The story moved a little slow for me and I'm not one for incest, but with all that being said, I gave The Automation three stars because I was in the middle on this one.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.