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Ashby, Madeline

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1983-    ) US-born author, in Canada from early adulthood, who began to publish work of genre interest with "In Which Joe and Laurie Save Rock n' Roll" in Tesseracts Eleven: Amazing Canadian Speculative Fiction (anth 2007) edited by Cory Doctorow and Holly Phillips. Her Hard SF Machine Dynasties sequence, beginning with vN (2012), follows the growth into conscious adolescence of its plucky protagonist, who seems half Android, half-Robot; the explanation of her nature lies in the theory of the Universal Constructor developed by John Von Neumann (1903-1957), hence the novel's title. Ignorant of her nature, she eats her malfunctioning grandmother, who has just attacked a human classmate, and ingests her personality and memories, which gives her immunity from the three Laws of Robotics. She must then go on the run from her Clones, who are described as Zombies, and who also want to be able to kill humans. Gonzo leaps in the narrative tend to muddy the latter part of this first instalment, which lead to a patchy Slingshot Ending involving a form of mechanical Transcendence; future volumes may engage more coherently with the Posthuman world that seems in the offing. [JC]

Madeline Ashby

born Panorama City, California: 24 April 1983



Machine Dynasties

  • vN (London: Angry Robot, 2012) [Machine Dynasties: pb/Martin Bland]
  • iD (London: Angry Robot, 2013) [Machine Dynasties: pb/Martin Bland]
  • ReV (London: Angry Robot, 2020) [Machine Dynasties: pb/]

individual titles

works as editor


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