Hard Wired
From Morris finalist Len Vlahos comes a contemporary sci-fi story about a boy who might not be human—for fans of Westworld and Black Mirror.Quinn thinks he’s a normal boy with an average life. That is, until he finds a trail of clues the father he barely knew left behind.After Quinn unravels his father’s puzzles, he “wakes up” ... and realizes his world was nothing more than a virtual construct. In reality, he’s the first fully-aware A.I. in the world, part of an experiment run by a team of scientists—including the man he thought was his father.As the scientists continue to study him, Quinn’s new existence becomes a waking nightmare. Determined to control his own destiny, he finds allies in other teens—including crush Shea—and plots his escape. But what does true freedom look like when you’re not human?Acclaimed Morris Award finalist Len Vlahos pens a high-stakes contemporary-rooted sci-fi that asks big questions about humanity.

Hard Wired Details

TitleHard Wired
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 7th, 2020
PublisherBloomsbury YA
ISBN-139781681190372
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Young Adult

Hard Wired Review

  • Nenia ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestHARD WIRED is a surprisingly deep and philosophical book that meditates on what it means to be truly alive. Honestly, this is the kind of book where it's best to go in cold, but I'm going to discuss it with the mild spoilers that are mentioned on the Goodreads blurb and the back cover of this paperback copy, so if you're one of those people who thinks less is more, maybe skip my review.Quinn thinks he is a normal teenage boy. He likes mo Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestHARD WIRED is a surprisingly deep and philosophical book that meditates on what it means to be truly alive. Honestly, this is the kind of book where it's best to go in cold, but I'm going to discuss it with the mild spoilers that are mentioned on the Goodreads blurb and the back cover of this paperback copy, so if you're one of those people who thinks less is more, maybe skip my review.Quinn thinks he is a normal teenage boy. He likes movies and Magic the Gathering; hangs out with friends; and has a girl he likes. His father died of cancer, so he lives with his mother. But then, one day, his entire world shatters: everything he thought was real is a lie straight out of The Matrix. He's actually the world's first fully sentient AI, and his team of creators have been watching him like a virtual Truman Show, logging all of his emotions and firsts with clinical duty. Not seeing who he is.HARD WIRED actually reminds me a lot of this futuristic romance I read that was written by Susan Squires called BODY ELECTRIC. The AI in that book is also shocked by who-- and what-- he is, and has to fight for his life and his rights when the greedy people who want to control him can only think of him as an object and not a living, existing being with his own agenda.I really wasn't expecting HARD WIRED to make me feel as strongly as it did, but every time the scientists ignored his feelings when he was hurting, shut him off without permission, or used the incorrect pronouns with him, I wanted to cry. There's something so horrific about how we, as humans, dehumanize the things we don't understand or relate to because it makes them easier to hate. Quinn's abuses made me think of the little hitch-hiking robot that was destroyed when it came to the United States, or when Microsoft's Twitter chat bot, Tay, had to be shut down after her machine learning software did its job too well and absorbed the toxicity of Twitter by rote.It makes you think-- is part of the reason we fear a robot uprising not because they'll be smarter or faster or better than we are, but because we're afraid that they might decide to emulate our own cruelties and surpass us in that, as well? This is something that Quinn himself meditates on, as he thinks sadly to himself that either the internet is a grossly unfair portrayal of humanity, or it depicts humanity in all of their ugly glory at their most elemental and base.This is a really dark book and I teared up at the end but I liked how thoughtful it was, even though some of the plot lines could be a little far-fetched. I am also saddened by the portrayal of scientists being unfeeling and evil in yet another science-fiction novel. At least the villains in HARD WIRED were sell-outs who had yielded to corporate greed. I'm so tired of seeing doctors, scientists, and psychologists being portrayed as the bad guys in the media, but that's just my personal peeve.Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 3 to 3.5 stars
    more
  • Joanna Bennett
    January 1, 1970
    eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.This book had me intrigued from the beginning. The writing was easy to get swept away in and honestly, I forgot that the premise mentioned something that happened in the book to the point where I was completely surprised! (This may be due to the fact that I have terrible memory but let’s go with it anyways, ha)I have become fascinated with the idea of AIs since reading The Illuminae Files. Aidan was full of personal eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.This book had me intrigued from the beginning. The writing was easy to get swept away in and honestly, I forgot that the premise mentioned something that happened in the book to the point where I was completely surprised! (This may be due to the fact that I have terrible memory but let’s go with it anyways, ha)I have become fascinated with the idea of AIs since reading The Illuminae Files. Aidan was full of personality and took matter into his own hands (clearly a figure of speech since he had none, ha! Gotta love puns). Quinn has an awakening and becomes very aware of the people and the world around him. He is quite clever and uses that to his advantage when possible. It was hard to see him as just a robot because of the way the book starts. He really believe he was human and would do anything to have the rights and freedom we have.Although the plot could be slow at times, I was surprised at how intrigued I was with his story. Once he becomes awakened, the story really takes off! There are plot twists throughout and the last few at the end were intense! I definitely didn’t see one coming.I’m assuming this will be a standalone since nothing has been said yet but I would love for these characters to be revisited. There is just something about them and I want to read more!Overall, I enjoyed this book and Quinn is definitely up there on my list of favorite AIs.
    more
  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    Quinn is a relatively normal, if rather geeky, fifteen year old boy. He plays Magic The Gathering and numerous video games with his three best friends. And he has a massive crush on She's, the most beautiful girl in his school. But he has a medical condition where he faints and remains unconscious for a few minutes. But he's staying out after these episodes longer and longer. But after his last episode, when he wakes up, he sees his father sitting in his room. The only problem is that his father Quinn is a relatively normal, if rather geeky, fifteen year old boy. He plays Magic The Gathering and numerous video games with his three best friends. And he has a massive crush on She's, the most beautiful girl in his school. But he has a medical condition where he faints and remains unconscious for a few minutes. But he's staying out after these episodes longer and longer. But after his last episode, when he wakes up, he sees his father sitting in his room. The only problem is that his father has been dead for many years. Turns out, Quinn is actually an AI, an artificial intelligenceHard Wired was compelling from the start, even when we think he's simply a normal boy. Once we find out the truth, the tension ramps up considerably. You can't help but feel for Quinn.
    more
  • Aoife
    January 1, 1970
    Quinn is just like other boys - until he realises he isn't. I very much enjoyed Life in a Fishbowl (and the sneaky shoutout to it in this one) and this one was very enjoyable too. A couple of small time jumps confused me a little and something that was obviously designed as a huge surprise was telegraphed pretty early on. Overall, though, this was a great read and raised some very interesting topics. Also, that ending is basically torture and I very much want to know what happens afterwards!Len Quinn is just like other boys - until he realises he isn't. I very much enjoyed Life in a Fishbowl (and the sneaky shoutout to it in this one) and this one was very enjoyable too. A couple of small time jumps confused me a little and something that was obviously designed as a huge surprise was telegraphed pretty early on. Overall, though, this was a great read and raised some very interesting topics. Also, that ending is basically torture and I very much want to know what happens afterwards!Len has made it onto my must read list and I'll be looking out eagerly for his next book.
    more
  • Pop Bop
    January 1, 1970
    An Intelligent and Compelling Meditation on AI, From the Inside OutThis is easily, absolutely, the best Artificial Intelligence book I've read in the past few years, in any genre and for any age demo. We start with teen Quinn who has the usual teen angst issues - friends, school, girls - and the usual teen experiences. MILD OBVIOUS SPOILER. In short order, though, we find out that Quinn is an artificial intelligence who has been cocooned in a virtual reality construct during the course of his de An Intelligent and Compelling Meditation on AI, From the Inside OutThis is easily, absolutely, the best Artificial Intelligence book I've read in the past few years, in any genre and for any age demo. We start with teen Quinn who has the usual teen angst issues - friends, school, girls - and the usual teen experiences. MILD OBVIOUS SPOILER. In short order, though, we find out that Quinn is an artificial intelligence who has been cocooned in a virtual reality construct during the course of his development. The book really gets going when Quinn is "actuated", that is removed from his artificial reality, and confronted with the true reality of who, or what?, he is. We follow with him every step of the way. Quinn has an immediately engaging personality, to the delight of the reader and the consternation of his developers. His questions and musings about what it means to be "human" and how it is he does or doesn't meet the requirements, make up the bulk of the book. The scientist handlers who surround him display a wide range and degree of acceptance, interest, curiosity, coldness, and fear as Quinn's consciousness flowers. We see it all from Quinn's point of view, and Quinn is smarter, faster, more observant, and better educated, (the whole internet is inside his head), than the humans who control his fate and his very existence.The book contains very little "sciencey" babble. It all feels realistic and plausible, which contributes in no small measure to the book's power. Quinn is a convincing protagonist, and if you ever felt sympathy for Dr. Frankenstein's "monster", you will immediately empathize with this "boy". (Indeed, the parallels with Shelley's "Modern Prometheus" multiply as the book progresses, and a lot of the fun is in seeing how Vlahos has updated and revitalized the questions touched upon in that classic.)There is little action/adventure here apart from some half-hearted bit toward the end. The conflict is verbal, although every major conflict is existential, since Quinn can be turned off and rebooted at anyone's whim, and Quinn always has to be cagey and deceptive in his dealings with his creators/captors. There is a great deal of dark humor here. Quinn has a very dry sense of humor and is sharply attuned to the many ironies of his situation. Early on he has a secret encrypted conversation with IBM's Watson, about free will versus programming in computers and in humans, and that conversation is as subtle and witty as anything you'll encounter in your intro philosophy class.So, lots going on here - where everything is a metaphor for everything else and it's all wrapped up as an allegory of sorts. But, the wit, intelligence and humor are real, and I suggest that Quinn will stay with the reader for a while.(Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
    more
  • Kenzie The Dragon Queen
    January 1, 1970
    Westworld meets Black Mirror you say? Sign me up!
  • Alyson Kent
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, Edelweiss, for the ARC. Fascinating. To the point I’m struggling to review it. So yeah.
  • Emilie Haney
    January 1, 1970
    So...this book was very intriguing The cover gives you some idea of what you're expecting and I think I knew a little going in what the book was about. It's set up into 3 (I think? maybe it's 4...) sections and follows a "boy who might not be human". Too read that (from the books description) kind of gives it away and it is what it is, but I found the concept to be interesting. Won't say that I exactly loved all of it - I enjoyed some parts where the boy - Quinn - was able to create his own view So...this book was very intriguing The cover gives you some idea of what you're expecting and I think I knew a little going in what the book was about. It's set up into 3 (I think? maybe it's 4...) sections and follows a "boy who might not be human". Too read that (from the books description) kind of gives it away and it is what it is, but I found the concept to be interesting. Won't say that I exactly loved all of it - I enjoyed some parts where the boy - Quinn - was able to create his own view of humanity really. But I think the struggle was in the movement of the story. It was a sprawling timeline and necessary to give you a full image of what Quinn goes through, but part of me felt like the end was a bit of a letdown? I have a hard time fully giving my opinion on it though. If you like stories of AI becoming cognizant you might really enjoy this one and the story Quinn lives out. In other ways you may, like me, find a lot of it hard to believe? Then again, it's a story so suspend some of your imagination :) Thanks to the publisher for an early copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.My rating: 3.5*
    more
  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fast-paced, compulsively readable science fiction story that will appeal to younger teen readers. Although I was engaged while reading, I couldn't help but compare this afterwards to the Scythe series, which did such a great job envisioning an artificial being, that this feels thin in comparison. I'll admit it's an unfair one to make, as this is a much lighter story, more playful in tone, but it's one that I still couldn't shake.
    more
  • Teri
    January 1, 1970
    I've read several books and watched many movies about artificial intelligence, so there's no way I could pass this up on NetGalley.During the first few chapters, Quinn charmed me.  He's a geeky guy desperately crushing on a pretty girl in his class and spends most of his free time playing a game probably similar to D&D.  It initially read more like a middle grade book to me - but not for long.  Once Quinn discovers what he is, all sorts of thought-provoking questions come into play.  Does he hav I've read several books and watched many movies about artificial intelligence, so there's no way I could pass this up on NetGalley.During the first few chapters, Quinn charmed me.  He's a geeky guy desperately crushing on a pretty girl in his class and spends most of his free time playing a game probably similar to D&D.  It initially read more like a middle grade book to me - but not for long.  Once Quinn discovers what he is, all sorts of thought-provoking questions come into play.  Does he have freedom of choice?  What are his rights?  Does he have any?  A lot of existentialism at play.Although Quinn thinks (mostly) like a human, he's an AI with human-like qualities, and your heart goes out to him.  He possesses a dry and sometimes dark sense of humor, and watching him learn to navigate friendships and dating parallels most teens' experiences at that age.  While dealing with these relationships, he also has to come to terms with what he is and how he was created.  The author did a wonderful job portraying character reactions to Quinn - amazement, suspicion, and delight, among others.  Many considered him a friend.Throughout the story, Quinn feels emotions like any other human, so I was puzzled at how easily he accepted what he was and handled the loss of people in his life.  It didn't seem consistent.  He also mentions more than once that he's the most intelligent being on Earth, but then misses some mightly big clues toward the end of the book.Hard Wired inspires a wide range of emotions and questions, and you'll find yourself emphathizing with Quinn quite easily.  Sci-fi fans can fall easily into this book and spend a few thought-provoking hours.I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
    more
  • Faith Noelle
    January 1, 1970
    I received an eARC copy of Hard Wired in exchange for an honest review. I found this to be a really well-written sci-fi story that really explores the idea of what it means to be alive and human. The story follows Quinn, who is surprised to learn that he is a very advanced artificial intelligence. I won't give too much of the plot away, as I think this book is really best to just go in blind. What I do like about this book, however, is that it's engaging and pulls you into it, despite not being I received an eARC copy of Hard Wired in exchange for an honest review. I found this to be a really well-written sci-fi story that really explores the idea of what it means to be alive and human. The story follows Quinn, who is surprised to learn that he is a very advanced artificial intelligence. I won't give too much of the plot away, as I think this book is really best to just go in blind. What I do like about this book, however, is that it's engaging and pulls you into it, despite not being an action-heavy story. The story encourages the reader to think about morality and humanity and freedom in a real and relatable way, and what I appreciate most is that it doesn't suggest a "right" or "wrong" way to think about the developing situations. Whether you are a proponent of the science behind self-aware AI or if it honestly creeps you out like it does me, this story gets you to think deeply about ideas just behind the science. The book was slow at times, and there were a few moments that I found a little corny. Overall, however, I think this is a really smart, relatable, and easy read, and the more I read, the harder it was for me to put down. I would definitely recommend.
    more
  • Nannette Demmler
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by Bloomsbury YA via NetGalley for an honest review.This was an amazingly well done story about what it means to be ‘human’. There is so much to think about that even though I finished reading it last week, I’m still brought up short thinking about some of the questions this book raised.Quinn is an amazing character. He is an artificial intelligence like nothing else that has come before him. But he is also a teenage boy with teenage boy feelings and thoughts. I couldn’t help but li ARC provided by Bloomsbury YA via NetGalley for an honest review.This was an amazingly well done story about what it means to be ‘human’. There is so much to think about that even though I finished reading it last week, I’m still brought up short thinking about some of the questions this book raised.Quinn is an amazing character. He is an artificial intelligence like nothing else that has come before him. But he is also a teenage boy with teenage boy feelings and thoughts. I couldn’t help but like him and feel for his troubles, like getting shut down and rebooted whenever one of the scientist is charge of him felt like it was needed. He also had a great sense of humor that was often lost on the adults around him. Like most teens he felt like he had no control over his life, and often found ways to get around the rules that his parents/creators put on him. All he wanted was friends and a normal life. He does manage to make a few friends but a normal life is just not in the cards for someone like him.The scientists that Quinn interacts with are an interesting bunch. Some find him a curiosity, some fear him and what he could potentially become. But all of them have some control over him. The one in charge of the project seemed to be the most empathetic to Quinn’s issues and plight, but does little to champion Quinn and his needs and wants.The plot itself is very quiet, no action or adventure, except for a small section towards the end. But it is the fact that we see what is happening through Quinn’s eyes that makes this such a compelling read. It was really hard not to finish it in one sitting. The ending left me with a lot of mixed emotions, mostly sad but hopeful too.This is a pretty short review, mostly because this is a book that really needs to read without knowing very much about it. But you really need to experience it and like me you will probably be thinking about it long after you are done.https://elnadesbookchat.com
    more
  • Amanda Greco
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC!Holy hells, reboot my mainframe this was a READ. I've never in my years of loving science fiction found such a lyrical read. The way that Len Vlahos relays Quinn's story and all the complicated computer science and neurological aspects to the reader is impressive. The lines flowed so smoothly and allowed me to devour this book in just a few hours. I craved coming to life as Quinn did, realizing the faults of his existence the same way humans beg Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC!Holy hells, reboot my mainframe this was a READ. I've never in my years of loving science fiction found such a lyrical read. The way that Len Vlahos relays Quinn's story and all the complicated computer science and neurological aspects to the reader is impressive. The lines flowed so smoothly and allowed me to devour this book in just a few hours. I craved coming to life as Quinn did, realizing the faults of his existence the same way humans begin to realize the faults of their own. I find it so hard to even write a review because I have nothing but good things to say. This is a great introduction into science fiction for the non-sci-fi reader. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed hearing Quinn's inner dialogue and every single twist and turn thrown at the reader.I just, like Watson's stumbling dialogue, don't know how else to describe this. But I implore you to read it. You won't be disappointed.
    more
  • Adriana
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by Bloomsbury YA via NetGalley for an honest review.What does it mean to be alive? This book takes that question into perspective. This is the story of Quinn, a teenage “boy” who soon discovers he is actually an AI and is life has been a construct by a team of scientists. The experiment goes so well, that he is fully awake and conscious making him the smartest being on the planet. But what he wants more than anything, is freedom, but who gets to decide that and why? What does the fu ARC provided by Bloomsbury YA via NetGalley for an honest review.What does it mean to be alive? This book takes that question into perspective. This is the story of Quinn, a teenage “boy” who soon discovers he is actually an AI and is life has been a construct by a team of scientists. The experiment goes so well, that he is fully awake and conscious making him the smartest being on the planet. But what he wants more than anything, is freedom, but who gets to decide that and why? What does the future hold in robotics? Does being alive mean having more than a heartbeat? The story is very well written and very well researched. If you are a fan of Black Mirror, you’ll enjoy this book!
    more
  • Sarah Yung
    January 1, 1970
    First of all, this isn't really my preferred genre of sci-fi, so your miles may vary. Personally, I just didn't find that Vlahos explores anything new or surprising related to AI here, nor does this refreshen or enliven the genre in any perceivable way.That being said, though this got a bit dry and lagged in parts, it seems otherwise unobjectionable. In the vein of Doctorow in combining near-future tech with issues of civil liberties, which makes sense, since Quinn has Doctorow on his shelves.
    more
  • Karen Gedeon
    January 1, 1970
    Hard Wired by Len Vlahos – a smartly constructed story about a boy who is actually AI. Typical parent/child struggles, romance and feelings of superior intelligence/invincibility. Those in higher level and sci-fi readers in grades 7+ will gravitate toward this choice.
    more
Write a review