In a future threatened by the spread of "kipple" (garbage & trash), Peter Payne is part of a fringe society that scavenges junk to survive. His days are spent in the refuse of humanity and running with a teenage gang called The Dead Bones lead by his brother Charlie. But when Peter finds beauty in the world in the shape of Alba, an advanced model female nexhuman, he finds purpose ... and love. When Charlie and The Dead Bones destroy Peter's dreams for the future, Peter embarks on a quest to rebuild the object of his obsession.
Exploring themes such as cybernetics, consumerism, robotics, and transcendence, Nexhuman expands on classic science fiction to build a world as deep and searching as its main character.
Francesco Verso is a hardworking author and publisher tirelessly promoting the science fiction genre in Italy. Born in Bologna, in 1973, he has a major in Environmental Economics at the University of Roma Tre and worked at IBM (PC Division) until 2005, then for Lenovo until 2008. Since 2008 he has worked as a full-time writer/publisher of Italian Science Fiction. His novel Antidoti umani was a finalist for the 2004 Urania Mondadori Award. In 2009, he won the Urania Mondadori Award for his book e-Doll. In 2011, he wrote short stories like “Flush,” “90 Cents,” “Two Worlds” (published on International Speculative Fiction nr.5), and “Fernando Morales, This Is Your Death!” In the same year, he finished his third novel Livido, which went on to win the Odyssey Award 2013 and Italy Award 2014 for best Italian Science Fiction novel. Livido, published in 2014 in Australia by Xoum with the title of Nexhuman is his first novel to be translated into English.
Imagine a future in which many human emotions are extinct, and “emotional masseuses” try to help people recover those lost sensations. Individuals rely on personal-assistant robots to navigate daily life. Students are taught not to think but to employ search programs. Companies protect their intellectual property by erasing the memory of their employees. And then imagine what it would feel like to be a sweet, smart thirteen-year-old girl from the twenty-first century who wakes from a cryogenically induced sleep into this strange world. This is the compelling story told by Carme Torras in this prize-winning science fiction novel. We meet Celia, brought back to life when a cure is found for her formerly terminal disease, and Lu, Celia's adoptive mother, protective but mystified by her new daughter. There is Leo, a bioengineer, who is developing a “creativity prosthesis” to augment humans' atrophied capacities, and the eccentric robotics mogul Dr. Craft. And there is Silvana, an emotional masseuse who reads old books to research the power of emotion. Silvana sees Celia as a living, breathing example of the emotions and feelings that are now out of reach for most people.
Torras, a prominent roboticist, weaves provocative ethical issues into her story. What kind of robots do we want when robot companions become as common as personal computers are now? Is it the responsibility of researchers to design robots that make the human mind evolve in a certain way? An appendix provides readers with a list of ethics questions raised by the book.