Emily is an artificial consciousness people can only sense if they’re wearing an interface chip, and she’s barely begun her life when the very people she’s striving to connect with discover they’re on a countdown to mass extinction.
Debut author Wheaton renders a new twist on humanity’s survival in this bittersweet post-apocalyptic novel. Emily may appear to chip-wearing humans to be a 30-something, but her five years of life have been spent figuring out how to relate to human beings, so she’s got the emotional IQ of a teenager. She tries to enforce human limits on herself to please Dr. Nathan Wyman, her creator, and to learn the nuances of experience, agency, and empathy, but she’s constantly testing just how far she can go and still get what she wants. So far, what she’s wanted most is to help, but she can't solve the sun’s demise. When she’s finally forced to triage a last-ditch effort to record humanity, since there’s no chance of saving them, she accidentally enters the memories of chemical engineer Jason Hatta, her crush, and all she wants is to submerge herself in the data until the end comes. Her final farewell's begun when she uncovers a genetic anomaly so radical it has the potential to change everything. But Emily’s discovery isn’t as novel or secret as she thinks, and not everyone’s onboard. Fast-paced chase scenes, double-crosses, and the pall of imminent doom propel Emily toward an innovative answer about the nature of existence in a quirky mix of melancholy, irreverence, and romance in which the only way to save something is to lose it. In Emily, humanity gets a young god whose strengths and flaws are of our own making.
A coming-of-age story of the artificial consciousness who becomes humanity's reluctant savior blurs together questions of existentialism, human essentialism, and love.