From the author of the classic Never Let Me Go, and the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Klara and the Sun is the new novel from Japanese born author Kazuo Ishiguro. This is the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change for ever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.
While you are waiting to read Klara and the Sun, you might enjoy these other Science Fiction based stories exploring the near future, robots and A.I and other worlds.
Machines Like Me and People Like You by Ian McEwan
Machines like me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda's assistance, he co-designs Adam's personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever - a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan's subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions: what makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart?
The Assistant by S.K. Tremayne
Newly divorced Jo is delighted to move into her best friend's spare room almost rent-free. The high-tech luxury Camden flat is managed by a meticulous Home Assistant, called Electra, that takes care of the heating, the lights - and sometimes Jo even turns to her for company. Until, late one night, Electra says one sentence that rips Jo's fragile world in two: `I know what you did.' And Jo is horrified. Because in her past she did do something terrible. Something unforgivable. Only two other people in the whole world know Jo's secret. And they would never tell anyone. Would they? As a fierce winter brings London to a standstill, Jo begins to understand that the Assistant on the shelf doesn't just want to control Jo; it wants to destroy her.
Plum Rains by Andromeda Romano-Lax
2029: In Japan, childbirth rates are at a critical low and the elderly are living increasingly long lives. This population crisis has precipitated a mass immigration of foreign medical workers from all over Asia - as well as the development of refined artificial intelligence to step in where humans fall short. In Tokyo, Angelica Navarro, a Filipina nurse, is the caretaker for Sayoko Itou, an intensely private woman about to turn 100 years old. Angelica is a dedicated nurse, working night and day to keep her demanding client happy. But one day Sayoko receives a present from her son: a cutting-edge robot caretaker that will educate itself to anticipate Sayoko's every need. Angelica wonders if she is about to be forced out of her much-needed job by an inanimate object - one with a preternatural ability to uncover the most deeply buried secrets of the humans around it.
The Mother Code by Carole Stivers
In 2049, when a U.S. attempt at stealth biowarfare goes awry, a team of scientists is engaged to ensure human survival on earth. Their best efforts fail, and they must turn to their last resort: a plan to place genetically engineered children inside the cocoons of large-scale robots--to be incubated, birthed, and raised by these machines, which have been programmed with the latest advances in artificial intelligence: the Mother Code. Kai is born in America's desert Southwest, his only companion his robotic Mother, Rho-Z. Equipped with the knowledge and intuition of a human mother, Rho-Z raises Kai and teaches him how to survive. As children like him come of age, their Mothers transform too--in ways that were never predicted. When government survivors decide that the machines who raised the children must be destroyed, Kai must fight to save the only parent he has ever known.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.
World War Terminus had left the Earth devastated. Through its ruins, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalked, in search of the renegade replicants who were his prey. When he wasn't 'retiring' them with his laser weapon, he dreamed of owning a live animal the ultimate status symbol in a world all but bereft of animal life. Then Rick got his chance: the assignment to kill six Nexus-6 targets, for a huge reward. But in Deckard's world things were never that simple, and his assignment quickly turned into a nightmare kaleidoscope of subterfuge and deceit and the threat of death for the hunter rather than the hunted. The novel was adapted for the screen in the Blade Runner movies.