Burn-In is a new type of tale. It’s almost like a future docudrama. It combines a fictional story with existing technology in new and exciting ways.

Special Agent Lara Keegan finds a terrorist hidden in plain sight. As a “reward”, she is given a Tactical Autonomous Mobility System robot, or TAMS, to beta test for the FBI. Workers in the US are increasingly angered by their jobs, both blue and white collared, being converted into “metal-collar jobs” filled with robots. There was no real guarantee of a Guaranteed Basic Income program going live in the US anytime soon.

If you don’t know about this new genre of “useful fiction”, it can seem at first to be an overlong thriller, which it is. The overlong part is because there is a non-fiction science book hiding within this book. All the technology is based on fact and fully referenced in a comprehensive Notes section at the end. Who knew that Finnish prisoners are training AI?

I’m the best possible consumer for this book. I love both thrillers and non-fiction, especially stories featuring technology. But I still feel there was a pacing issue in Burn-In. The world-building didn’t feel as effortless as it does in good science fiction. It slowed down the action, especially in the first half of the book. I enjoyed it but I’m not sure if there are enough people out there to make this book a bestseller. Give it a try if it sounds intriguing. 4 stars!

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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