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About Activation Degradation by Marina J. Lostetter

When Unit Four—a biological soft robot built and stored high above the Jovian atmosphere—is activated for the first time, it’s in crisis mode. Aliens are attacking the Helium-3 mine it was created to oversee, and now its sole purpose is to defend Earth’s largest energy resource from the invaders in ship-to-ship combat.

But something’s wrong. Unit Four doesn’t feel quite right.

There are files in its databanks it can’t account for, unusual chemical combinations roaring through its pipes, and the primers it possesses on the aliens are suspiciously sparse. The robot is under orders to seek and destroy. That’s all it knows.

According to its handler, that’s all it needs to know.

Determined to fulfill its directives, Unit Four launches its ship and goes on the attack, but it has no idea it’s about to get caught in a downward spiral of misinformation, reprograming, and interstellar conflict.

Most robots are simple tools. Unit Four is well on its way to becoming something more….

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Review of Activation Degradation

Facts are slow to be revealed to both the reader and to main character – Unit Four.  A newborn robot only knows so much.  So facts are not pertinent – at first.  The story starts slowly but picks up steam as soon as Unit Four gets into its ship to start on his mission.   As the details of the robot’s existence come to life, so too does the reader’s awareness that the creators haven’t revealed all the facts that might apply to a certain robot.

Activation Degradation is a fascinating story of birth, life and a not-so-sure expiration date.  One of the things that I appreciated is the lack of a ‘past’ for Unit Four.  As humans, we tend to constantly look to the past.  Sometimes, the best and only thing to do is to forge ahead and not be constrained by tradition.  Unit Four understands this better than most.  And because it does, Unit Four is not limited by its past. 

When Unit Four encounters the enemy, it’s life will expand exponentially.  The enemy is not what it was led to believe.  For that matter, Unit Four is not what it was led to believe.  Unit Four has many decisions to make.  Decisions that may help him fulfill his preordained destiny or may change his life in unimagined ways.  I know what I am hoping for. 

Thanks to the publisher who provided a copy through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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