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Hard Wired

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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 th 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.


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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 th 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.

30 review for Hard Wired

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest HARD 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 || Pinterest HARD 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

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Bennett

    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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Thank you to NetGalley, Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, and Len Vlahos for the opportunity to read Hard Wired in exchange for an honest review. Quinn thinks he’s a normal high school boy living the generic high school life. After going on a date with a girl he likes, the truth of his reality hits in an unexpected way. Quinn is actually a Quantum Intelligence, a sentient AI with billions of dollars invested. Quinn can access the internet and know all things at once, though as an AI, he continues t Thank you to NetGalley, Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, and Len Vlahos for the opportunity to read Hard Wired in exchange for an honest review. Quinn thinks he’s a normal high school boy living the generic high school life. After going on a date with a girl he likes, the truth of his reality hits in an unexpected way. Quinn is actually a Quantum Intelligence, a sentient AI with billions of dollars invested. Quinn can access the internet and know all things at once, though as an AI, he continues to learn. Yes he, not it. Quinn learns by observation to differentiate real and fake news, identify human emotions through facial expressions and voice fluctuations, and can find the best sources for anyone in need. When plans at the university are proceeding forth with putting Quinn into an actual physical body, he seems excited. But the body that has been made for him is a seven foot tall robotic monstrosity. According to everything Quinn has seen through film and literature, that is not the best approach to appear human. Quinn is his own person, so he should have human rights…right? What this book really comes down to is a court case where Quinn tries to sue the university where his physical body is being housed so that he can experience true freedom, rather than be imprisoned. He knows right from wrong, or so he thinks, and he is very mellow in personality. It should be up to him whether or not he gets shut down, memory wipes, reboots, or internet connectivity. The heavy topic of this novel falls down to one of the big philosophical questions: what does it mean to be human? Since Quinn is completely sentient, he believes he has the right to the freedoms of a human being. The moral controversy that a machine can be classified as human targets a very real philosophical argument presented in our world today. As the world further advances in its technology, at what point might the events of this novel see the light of day? With the way science-fiction has approached the topic of Artificial Intelligence, there is a very real fear of robotic sentience becoming a leader in world domination. Are those fears justified, or are they warped by what people have learned through fiction, or what someone tells them, just like how other discriminatory topics might be presented? A very well-written, fast-paced, intriguing novel to get the reader thinking morally and philosophically about the topic presented and the world they live in. A must-read for anyone interested in computer science and philosophy, and a fun read for teens as well.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight 3.5* So first of all, I almost never read synopses. So I knew it was sci-fi, and I knew that I really liked the author's previous book , so I went for it. And I will say this: I really think not reading the synopsis is a really good idea here. When I was writing this review, I realized that the synopsis gives away what happens after like, the first big chunk of the book. And I get it, You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight 3.5* So first of all, I almost never read synopses. So I knew it was sci-fi, and I knew that I really liked the author's previous book , so I went for it. And I will say this: I really think not reading the synopsis is a really good idea here. When I was writing this review, I realized that the synopsis gives away what happens after like, the first big chunk of the book. And I get it, they have to sell the thing, but I just think going in without knowing is better. So take that for what it's worth, though if you found my review I guess you already read the synopsis. Sigh. My favorite thing about the book is that it's incredibly thought provoking. What makes someone human? And, in a time when human rights debates are front and center, these questions feel extra relevant. Without giving too much away, Quinn is just desperate to belong. He just wants a chance to live his life, to find people he cares for (and who care about him), and be able to choose his own paths. There are a few moments that felt a bit outlandish, but overall it was full of heart, and full of debates on what humanity is at its core. Bottom Line:  Sweet and thought-provoking book that will appeal to those who enjoy a lighter sci-fi fare in a contemporary setting.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kasey Giard

    Okay, so… there are not very many cases where I’ve read every book an author has published, but Len Vlahos is one of those. I had the chance to do a Q&A with him around the time LIFE IN A FISHBOWL came out, so be sure to check that out for details on what inspired his earlier books. One of the things I love about Vlahos’s books is that even though they tackle serious topics, there are really playful moments and characters. For instance, in HARD WIRED, Quinn has this rambly, somewhat self-deprecat Okay, so… there are not very many cases where I’ve read every book an author has published, but Len Vlahos is one of those. I had the chance to do a Q&A with him around the time LIFE IN A FISHBOWL came out, so be sure to check that out for details on what inspired his earlier books. One of the things I love about Vlahos’s books is that even though they tackle serious topics, there are really playful moments and characters. For instance, in HARD WIRED, Quinn has this rambly, somewhat self-deprecating, funny internal monologue. There’s also a reference to LIFE IN A FISHBOWL in the book, too. I loved that– it totally feels like a nod to readers who’ve followed his books, like it creates sort of a joke we’re all in on together in an unassuming way that doesn’t hurt the story if you didn’t catch it. This is definitely one of those books where every time you feel like you know what’s going on, another layer gets peeled back. I felt like I couldn’t stop reading because I wanted to know how far the rabbit hole went and whether Quinn would find an exit to his freedom. All in all, I felt like it was a charming, fun, thought-provoking book, definitely a must-read for this weird, wacky summer we’re in. Fans of Scott Westerfeld’s SO YESTERDAY or ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill should check out HARD WIRED.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    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 intelligence Hard 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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aoife

    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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pop Bop

    An Intelligent and Compelling Meditation on AI, From the Inside Out This 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 Out This 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.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kenzie The Dragon Queen

    Westworld meets Black Mirror you say? Sign me up!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alyson Kent

    Thank you, Edelweiss, for the ARC. Fascinating. To the point I’m struggling to review it. So yeah.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emilie Haney

    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*

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jessica (readalongwithjess)

    4/5 ⭐️ for Hard Wired by Len Vlahos Thank you so much to Bloomsbury US and NetGalley for early access to the egalley! This was such a fun sci-fi contemporary blend that brought us a very interesting MC and themes of what is humanity. The writing was pretty good, and I enjoyed reading about Quinn & his experiences. Overall, it follows a 15 y.o. boy, Quinn, who “wakes up” only to find that his reality is not actually reality. Firstly, he is not actually human...he is the worlds very first fully awa 4/5 ⭐️ for Hard Wired by Len Vlahos Thank you so much to Bloomsbury US and NetGalley for early access to the egalley! This was such a fun sci-fi contemporary blend that brought us a very interesting MC and themes of what is humanity. The writing was pretty good, and I enjoyed reading about Quinn & his experiences. Overall, it follows a 15 y.o. boy, Quinn, who “wakes up” only to find that his reality is not actually reality. Firstly, he is not actually human...he is the worlds very first fully aware and sentient A.I. ever to be built and programmed. His friends are avatars & constructs of real teens, and his family is actually a team of researchers. I thought the character development was super strong and engaging for Quinn ~ he’d probable relate best to older middle grade and young ya readers. His characters, frustrations, and confusion felt real and translated well to me across the page. Arguably, characterization could be stronger with our supporting cast, and would benefit from expansion in the story or an alternate perspective. I will say that this did not take away from my enjoyment, but those changes could bring a complexity and translate better for wider audience. I though the pacing and storyline was well done, and did bring some surprises I wasn’t expecting. Finally, what I think this book did is explore the idea of humanity, and what the reality of A.I. in our world today means for us as humans. What makes us human? What differentiates a human from a computer? Is there a point in AI where the two become indistinguishable? If you or a teen you know are looking for a light sci-fi with a relatable character, Hard Wired is the book for you!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    jess (bibliophilicjester)

    I won an arc of this in a Goodreads giveaway, and when the release date was pushed back to July, I put it off. And oh man did this one let me down. I don't want to put people off giving this book a read, so I want to stress that I VERY often have unpopular opinions. If you're drawn to this premise, don't skip it because of my rating. Read it and decide for yourself!! The back calls this book a perfect blend of scifi and contemporary - as someone who adores scifi and the idea of AI but hardly ever I won an arc of this in a Goodreads giveaway, and when the release date was pushed back to July, I put it off. And oh man did this one let me down. I don't want to put people off giving this book a read, so I want to stress that I VERY often have unpopular opinions. If you're drawn to this premise, don't skip it because of my rating. Read it and decide for yourself!! The back calls this book a perfect blend of scifi and contemporary - as someone who adores scifi and the idea of AI but hardly ever enjoys contemporary... It's not a perfect blend. It's really light on the science, heavy on the teenage angst. Understandably so at first, but I wanted Quinn to develop beyond the average 15 year old boy he (thinks he) is at the beginning. There were a lot of interesting contributions to the debate of what makes us human and who is a person, and imagines legal processes that might be involved. I thought the bit about gender was interesting when Quinn realized he identified as male because that gender was assigned to him...and then later on tells his crush he could be male or female or whatever she was interested in, and it sort of undid the message of gender and labels as something we should choose for ourselves. Overall, it felt like a very character-driven story, which usually isn't my thing. Quinn's narration felt like a teenage boy the whole time, not a quantum intelligence with access to knowledge on Every Thing (as he says). I will say, there was a twist toward the end I didn't see coming. And the ending itself def isn't what you'd expect for an AI book. But again, for me, it was just too much contemporary and not enough scifi. I think readers of the former will get more out of this (though maybe the 42 and HAL references will be a miss for those readers). PSA to authors: When you continuously mock one state in your book (or even if you only do it once), you risk offending readers from said state. I was born and raised in New Jersey, I still live here, and I love my state. I'm not a fucking punch line. Please stop.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Teri

    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.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Libriamo3116

    Thank you Bloomsbury YA for providing me with a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ⁣ Quinn didn't know his father well, but at least he left some clues behind that can help him find out more about who he is. It turns out that the clues were a bread crumb trail to the truth of his entire existence. Quinn now knows that he's the world's first sentient artificial intelligence, capable of continual growth, mentally and emotionally, but the downside is that he's also a l Thank you Bloomsbury YA for providing me with a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ⁣ Quinn didn't know his father well, but at least he left some clues behind that can help him find out more about who he is. It turns out that the clues were a bread crumb trail to the truth of his entire existence. Quinn now knows that he's the world's first sentient artificial intelligence, capable of continual growth, mentally and emotionally, but the downside is that he's also a lab rat, observed by scientists as if he's barely more alive than an amoeba. Finding freedom and human recognition in this newfound existence seems possible, so Quinn sets out to break away from this environment and find a place where he really belongs. Yet, what exactly will that place look like for the first true artificially intelligent being?⁣ ⁣ I thoroughly enjoyed the philosophical and existential questions posed by Quinn's story. Why is humanity afraid of a Terminator-esque robopocalypse? Will there come a time when robots or androids can feel and seem more human than machine? Most importantly, will they be granted the same rights humans have? The most compelling parts of the story happen because of the conflict between Quinn and his scientist overlords, able to shut him down at any time, for any reason. This reality forces Quinn to strategize and be cunning about his situation and actions, and the story as a result is elevated by Quinn's need to find freedom from the constraints of his creators. Here you'll find some Hard Wired food for thought in a very accessible read about humanity, technology, and our increasingly intersectional existence, which is important for a not-so-distant future where humanity may need to determine its relationship with sentient artificially intelligent beings, for better or worse.⁣

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sally Kruger

    Playing video games and daydreaming about a hot girl, those are the things that entertain high school student Quinn. He makes his mother happy by excelling in school, and he spends time with his younger brother when he can. When he discovers videos made by his father before he died of cancer, Quinn hopes to gain some insight into who he is and where his future might take him. Recently, Quinn has been experiencing fainting spells. These spells are dismissed as stress related, but the rather embar Playing video games and daydreaming about a hot girl, those are the things that entertain high school student Quinn. He makes his mother happy by excelling in school, and he spends time with his younger brother when he can. When he discovers videos made by his father before he died of cancer, Quinn hopes to gain some insight into who he is and where his future might take him. Recently, Quinn has been experiencing fainting spells. These spells are dismissed as stress related, but the rather embarrassing habit of passing out is starting to annoy Quinn. Upon waking from one of these spells, Quinn makes a frightening discovery. He is not really human. Waking in a sterile lab surrounded by strangers he soon learns are his "team," it is revealed that Quinn is actually an AI - artificial intelligence. The life he has been living is really a virtual world designed by screen writers, and he has been being studied by scientists and psychologists trying to create an artificial human. As it becomes clear that Quinn might possibly be smarter than all of his creators combined, he starts to use the technology around him to attempt to return to what he wishes was still his normal daily life. Connecting with outsiders gives him hope that he can escape the lab, but his creators may have much more power over him than he realizes. Author Len Vlahos is the author of award winning THE SCAR BOYS and several other awesome YA novels. In HARD WIRED Vlahos takes readers on a sci-fi adventure that will blow their minds. Quinn's life and abilities will have readers questioning exactly what might be possible in the not to distant future.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Hard Wired by Len Vlahos is a YA book about teenager Quinn, who is struggling with grief over his father's death and episodes where he blacks out during instances of high stress. He starts getting clues that all is not as it seems in his life, leading to a revelation that changes how he sees himself and the rest of the world in a big way. I won't say what the revelation is, but I would imagine most people will know going in, as it is likely a big selling point for the book. But, if you do already Hard Wired by Len Vlahos is a YA book about teenager Quinn, who is struggling with grief over his father's death and episodes where he blacks out during instances of high stress. He starts getting clues that all is not as it seems in his life, leading to a revelation that changes how he sees himself and the rest of the world in a big way. I won't say what the revelation is, but I would imagine most people will know going in, as it is likely a big selling point for the book. But, if you do already know when you start reading, it takes a very long time to get there, and the opening sections are pretty mundane, teenage melodrama. If you don't know going in, you're going to be in for a very different book than you might expect... Once it got going properly, the story was interesting, I liked some of the characters a lot (particularly the various teenage girls, who I think were written very well) and I was intrigued to find out where it was going. There were multiple times when questions were raised by the narrative and immediately answered, which was quite amusing, but there were also quite a few instances where the 'rules' of the situation contradicted themselves or things really didn't make any sense. It was all very adolescent, but then that was at least partially the point, so I can't criticise that. The dramatic, all-action climax was a bit much, but the overall conclusion felt satisfying, and I would say it was an enjoyable read overall, with some interesting themes and discussion points.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Faith Noelle

    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.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Greco

    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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nannette Demmler

    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

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I was really hopeful about this book. The premise was interesting, but since it's a young adult novel featuring a young adult, expecting the book to fully explore the condition of an AI that doesn't immediately come to life and want to kill all humans was too much to ask for I guess. I suppose I was hoping that there would be more fascination with the concept of having basically birthed an entirely new sentient species, but just building the backdrop took way too much time. By the time things wer I was really hopeful about this book. The premise was interesting, but since it's a young adult novel featuring a young adult, expecting the book to fully explore the condition of an AI that doesn't immediately come to life and want to kill all humans was too much to ask for I guess. I suppose I was hoping that there would be more fascination with the concept of having basically birthed an entirely new sentient species, but just building the backdrop took way too much time. By the time things were getting good and interesting the story suddenly turned into the typical sci-fi trope of humans behaving badly, mis-interpreting the monster and trying to kill it. I had wished that this would be the start of a series, but it looks like that won't happen. If you want a really good series I suggest "WWW" by Robert J Sawyer, which is both incredibly well-written and amazingly positive.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ari Augustine

    WEST WORLD collides with BLACK MIRROR to give us HARD WIRED, a thought-provoking meditation on AI intelligence through main character Quinn, who thinks he's a real boy...only to discover he isn't. In reality, he's the world's first sentient AI and must now confront ultimate questions: what does it mean to be human? How is one truly alive? It kind of reminded me a bit of Blade Runner in this regard, and I found myself immersed in these sort of philosophical ponderings as I read. It reflects not o WEST WORLD collides with BLACK MIRROR to give us HARD WIRED, a thought-provoking meditation on AI intelligence through main character Quinn, who thinks he's a real boy...only to discover he isn't. In reality, he's the world's first sentient AI and must now confront ultimate questions: what does it mean to be human? How is one truly alive? It kind of reminded me a bit of Blade Runner in this regard, and I found myself immersed in these sort of philosophical ponderings as I read. It reflects not only the possible AI advances in our future, but also the very real fears of our own cruelties and how these might manifest beyond our control. AI's, afterall, are made in their creators' image. I would highly recommend this book!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

    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!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Yung

    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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sean Randall

    A tremendously impressive work, this book sucked me in and was a single-sitting read. I found the prose smooth and easy to follow, the youth of our main character painted just about right to begin with, and the reveals that keep staggering him throughout to be handled well. I had a really good feeling, right from the outset, and whilst it's not perhaps up there with Randoms for one of those YA books that I want to reread as soon as I've finished, it nonetheless gave me a good few hours escape an A tremendously impressive work, this book sucked me in and was a single-sitting read. I found the prose smooth and easy to follow, the youth of our main character painted just about right to begin with, and the reveals that keep staggering him throughout to be handled well. I had a really good feeling, right from the outset, and whilst it's not perhaps up there with Randoms for one of those YA books that I want to reread as soon as I've finished, it nonetheless gave me a good few hours escape and a delightful take on its concept.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    This started out really promising. Part one focuses on Quinn living a life that is slowly starting to not make sense. The voice is really strong and he feels like an authentic teenager. When the big reveal happens and he finds out he is not human, but rather artificial intelligence, the story really starts to lose its magic. It then dissolves into really long monologues of him explaining humanity and the internet and other robots. There were also some moments that made me go yikes (like when he This started out really promising. Part one focuses on Quinn living a life that is slowly starting to not make sense. The voice is really strong and he feels like an authentic teenager. When the big reveal happens and he finds out he is not human, but rather artificial intelligence, the story really starts to lose its magic. It then dissolves into really long monologues of him explaining humanity and the internet and other robots. There were also some moments that made me go yikes (like when he refers to Shea as on the high side of a normal BMI???). This just wasn't what I wanted it to be.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I don't read a lot of hard science fiction, so this was a welcome change. Quinn lives a pretty good life with his mother and brother and three close friends. He does pass out a lot, but his life is pretty normal. One day he discovers it isn't, and nothing will ever be the same. It's hard to discuss this book without spoilers, but it made me think a lot about what it means to be human, to have rights, and what the boundaries of science can or should be. Definitely thought-provoking.

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Durant

    My wife and I enjoyed listening to this audio book together - despite appreciating it in very different ways. I'm a technologist by trade and, apart from some very infrequent but quite glaring errors, the tech in this book was very sound. We both enjoyed the characters and story - even if the last section felt rather "written for the screen". It was a genuine thought-provoking book, especially for people not familiar with the themes, so I hope it gains a wide readership and hopefully a sequel.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ally Renell

    This was actually quite good and somewhat unexpected. In some ways it follows the classic AI waking up and freaking people out story, but the author just did a great job balancing the AI's persona as a teenage boy. There was some weird unnecessary plot points at the end, but overall this is solid riff on the whole 'what it means to be human' concept.

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