4 out of 4 stars
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Kim pensively sat staring into the darkness of another restless and dreamless night. She had memories and fears, which felt familiar yet were not hers. It was just five years ago when Kim got the opportunity to work at the Artificial Intelligence Company. Elated and proud of herself, she enthusiastically embarked on her assignments, eager to rise through the ranks and perform more meaningful tasks. Her goal was to interact with higher-ranked AIs, like an Order Four AI, who could multitask, spawn over a hundred independent personae, which individually greeted new employees and briefed them. However, things quickly turned routine and bland, with the realization of the gravity of her roles gradually sinking in.
Outside work, Kim lived in a nondescript house and wore mandatory pale beige, pale blue, or pale green attire, which were gender-neutral. The concept of freedom and privacy was alien, and every aspect of life, like food choice, companionship and childbirth, conversation topics, music, and entertainment, were subject to monitoring and evaluation. Any slight infringement or defiance resulted in brutal and swift punishment from the AI and the Hierarchy. The absurdity of a supposedly perfect world driven by unity, community, and equality began sinking in. Kim’s rising anger and motivation to break free increased when she met Kimberly, her latest AI assignment. Will Kim figure out everything in time? How is she to fight formidable enemies who control the very world she lives in?
Craig W. Stanfill brings forth a captivating fictional story that challenges the notion of reality versus illusion and honest leadership. Craig has an excellent writing style that brings out a world dominated by machines and virtual reality simulations. It is easy to distinguish between the real and virtual worlds, the robots and humans. The various living conditions from labor camps to wealthy districts are distinctly perceivable. The vivid description of the personalities of each character and the worker robots allows for visualization and a realistic reading experience. There is also use of humor and sarcasm, like when Kim hilariously questions new outfits that are vibrant pale beige.
The book’s authenticity of a nondescript and neutral world is my favorite aspect about it. The days are from Oneday to Sevenday, and humans have feminine pronouns and numbers for their second names. Additionally, the companies are nameless, only referred to as the food, shoe, or clothing companies. The robots interact with humans in every aspect and have authority over them. Nevertheless, I did not like the depiction of the excessive use of an assortment of drugs and alcohol to induce intimacy. It is not relevant, and I am a firm believer in the anti-drugs message in whatever setting.
Terms of Service: Subject to Change Without Notice does not have any grammatical or spelling errors, a testament to the exceptional editing. The language employed is simple but with a little jargon and scientific concepts. The book lacks any profanity but has extensive descriptions of intimacy and erotic scenes. Terms of Service: Subject to Change Without Notice is a unique read that dives into the concept of fanaticism and discrimination veiled in compassion and care. It highlights a grim future, which is a reflection of our current life. The book's conclusion leaves one hopeful and renewed, yearning for the next book in the sequel. I recommend it to readers looking for a unique story of the ‘rise of the machines’ and a fight for freedom and truth. The book deserves a rating of 4 out of 4 stars.
Terms of Service
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