Expiration Day, by William Campbell Powell (book review) – created or birthed, what makes human?

book cover of Expiration Day by WIlliam Campbell Powell published by Tor TeenI’m definitely human.
Wait! I’m not?!
But I feel human…

As a rare human child, Tania knows that her humanoid robot classmates will go back to the factory at age 18. Shocked to discover that she too is just a teknoid, she’ll fight to stay alive past her Expiration Day!

Tania addresses her diary (read free excerpt here) to alien Zog, whose observations surprisingly appear among her musings on playing bass guitar and doing a Shakespeare play with nearby boys’ school.

Rather eerie to discuss this book just after a computer passed the Turing Test for the first time, tricking researchers into thinking it was a real 13 year old boy!


Book info: Expiration Day / William Campbell Powell. Tor Teen, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk:  In the 2050s when humans so rarely have babies, music-loving Tania suddenly discovers that she’s a robot and decides to fight to stay alive past her mandatory recycling date.

The global fertility crisis couldn’t end adults’ longing to have children to love,  so teknoids were created.Each is reused or reprogrammed by the Oxted factory at age 18.

For Tania, that means no more playing bass with her band, no more Shakespeare performances, no more helping Dad navigate their shared grief over Mum’s recent death…

But she feels so human, with burning philosophical questions in her heart and such a desire to study psychology at university!

Taking Oxted to court to break their “lease” of Tania to Dad is their only option – could their desperate ploy work?  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

What do you think?

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