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Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Machines Like Me, by Ian McEwan. 

Britain has lost the Falklands war, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In a world not quite like this one, two lovers will be tested beyond their understanding.

Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda’s assistance, he co-designs Adam’s personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever - a love triangle soon forms.  

These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan’s subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions: what makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart? This provocative and thrilling tale warns of the power to invent things beyond our control.

©2019 Ian McEwan (P)2019 Random House Audiobooks

What listeners say about Machines Like Me

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Our world but not as we know it

Ian McEwan is my favourite writer and the standard he sets himself is incredibly high. Easy then to fall short and disappoint the reader? No chance. This is as good, if not better, than anything he's written before. It is fresh, creative, scary and impeccably written. Set in the eighties, it's in a similarly dislocated reality to Ishiguro's 'Never Let Me Go' in that it takes what we think we know and throws it all up in the air. For example, Alan Turing is still alive, Mrs Thatcher is still in power having lost the war in the Falklands, Tony Benn is leader of the opposition and so on. There are many 'Sliding Doors' moments that form the backdrop to the central story of the love triangle between man, woman and robot. I've read a few snide reviews of this book and don't agree with them at all. I found this an entertaining, challenging and exceptionally well written novel that deserves our highest praise. I also think that we should rejoice that McEwen is still delivering the goods and hope that he continues for many years to come.

25 people found this helpful

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Ian McEwan at his best. Thought provoking.

You become so quickly engrossed with and empathetic with the characters, it has so much depth, I will have to listen to it again, after my subconscious and conscious mind have grappled with the implications arising from many of the issues traversed in this brilliant book.

14 people found this helpful

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A compelling story

The story is cleverly set in the past which adds familiarity, but is based on a future technology that we are yet to know. it is thought provoking
I listened to it at 1.4x speed which actually makes the voice of the reader sound like a stereotypical android. a bit like jude law in AI

11 people found this helpful

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Engrossing

A clever, well crafted tale that makes you think and feel deeply. A perfect ending.

9 people found this helpful

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An intelligent philosophical novel

Ian McEwan is a writer always worth reading. Here he moves into SF territory, yet is so highly esteemed that nobody mentions it. Charlie, a very self-centred, weak protagonist buys one of the first Adam and Eve robots. Living with a robot and at times with a small abandoned boy raises so many philosophical issues of the right thing to do. It is set in an alternative reality. Alan Turing is a major figure in the book, the Beatles have reformed and are releasing new material and Argentina win the Falklands War. I found those inclusions a little of-putting but the issues are clever and the meeting with his girlfriend's father is very funny. It isn't a well rounded novel but is always interesting and iin its even-handed treatment of both sides of any argument has a lot going for it.

8 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable but Nothing new

Enjoyed the story but I don't think Ian McEwan said anything new about AI that hadn't been said before. Wonder if he ever watched "Humans" on tv. Thought the narrative wandered a bit, why did he set it in past years, didn't get that.

15 people found this helpful

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Great

Gripping and thought provoking story. Great narration. Really enjoyable listen. Yada Yada Yada Yada Yada

6 people found this helpful

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Dreary and Robotic...

Having been a fan of Ian McEwan's for years, and now having heard his latest offering, I have to express disappointment in this work. Perhaps it's the lack lustre reading by Billy Howie or the dullness of the story that made me feel as though I was wasting my time. I have heard good reviews of this work on the wireless, inspiring interviews and a host of cleverness spoken by pundits and McEwan regarding the existential depth of machine intelligence versus us breathing creatures: sorry it's still an uninspiring audiobook.

20 people found this helpful

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Gripping, lovely, thought-provoking

Superb writing from McEwan. Enthralling characters and a simple set-up that grabs you from the start. Based in an interesting alternative history. I didn’t want it to end - I wanted to stay in their world.

4 people found this helpful

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Timeless masterpiece

This will be studied at universities one day. It is pure genius on the subject of artificial intelligence and consciousness, told through stunning prose. Cannot recommend highly enough

3 people found this helpful

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  • Vitor Dalcin
  • 07-11-19

A book about us!

Easy listening to, and an intense storytelling.
A real deal to look closely at ourselves. One may thought this book is about IA and ML will be pleased to listen/read to this piece.
Beutifully writen, with care and understanding about mankind in general.
Sorry if I sound cheesy. I realy loved it!!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mauro Locarnini
  • 01-01-21

Entertaining

The story is entertaining, I couldn't figure out whats the purpose of the authrous playing with changing some past historical facts that do not necessarily mingle with the story. All the sex in the book was not needed at all. And the exploration of a society with robots barely scratched the surface.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-08-20

Intelligent and beatiful

The novel Machines like us is a tale about human morals and the limitations of comprehension. Despite addressing social issues, it retains a personal touch. Thereby a hauntingly beautiful story enfolds in front of the reader’s eyes, which is somewhat reminiscent of Dostojevskij.
The author describes clashes of different perspectives without passing judgment and leaves it up to the reader to make up his or her opinions. This novel is a mirror of our times and can stand proudly among those of Huxley and Orwell. A truly amazing work of thought!

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  • Mark
  • 21-10-19

Is AI what we need more of?

Ian asks questions we should all be thinking about but blends them into a great story. It finished too soon.

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  • Nicholas
  • 12-08-19

ian mcewan does it again.

the novel offers a revisionist history on Britain and technology, with a contemporary commentary on the problems and questions we need to tackle in the age of AI

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  • erik
  • 24-05-19

Brilliant & Intelligent

This is Ian MacEwan at his best.
I sincerly recommend this book to all Audible listeners

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-05-19

What's AI

The what if of AI. Brilliant, engrossing, awesome in its impact and analysis. Most recommended.