RELEVANT, TIMELY THEMES: The artificial intelligence revolution is coming, and this novel is a deeply thoughtful take on what our world might look like in just a few years. In this vividly imagined future, a reshaped social hierarchy means there are two classes of women: “born” and “created”—and as it turns out, both are equally disempowered by the new system. Articles like the recent New York Magazine cover story “Are We Ready for Robot Sex?,” the New York Times feature “Do You Take This Robot,” the recent New York Times op-ed “The Trouble With Sex Robots,” or the wildly popular HBO series Westworld demonstrate the abundant consumer interest in the thorny topic of artificial intelligence as it relates to personal autonomy, sex, and consent—and how the rise of robots who can cater to absolutely any fantasy will impact the lives of real human women.
LITERARY, VOICE-DRIVEN WRITING: Sylv.ie is an incredibly unique and compelling character, and her voice will pull you in from the very first page. The novel is told entirely from her perspective as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and tries to find her place in a world that has created her to fulfill one specific task—but also given her the intelligence and the drive to desire much more for herself. The diary format was inspired by the memoirs of medieval Japanese women at court—now recognized as some of the earliest novels written by women.
BRILLIANT AND UNEXPECTED: This book flips your expectations for a book about artificial intelligence on its head: it is not a book about why we should be afraid of robots, but rather a book about why robots should be afraid of us. The first-person perspective of a woman “created” for human consumption allows Ros to delve deeply into questions of humanity, personhood and bodily ownership. And telling the story from an outsider’s perspective allows for subtle and telling observations about our present-day culture.
CROSS-GENRE APPEAL: This book sits at the intersection between smart high-concept feminist fiction, futuristic dystopian fiction, accessible sci-fi for a mainstream audience, and literary fiction, and will hold appeal for readers across genres.
“[A] quiet triumph…Anderson’s prose—Sylv.ie’s voice—offers a beautiful combination of naivete and wisdom, full of nonhuman puzzlements, off-kilter observations, and limpid poetry.”—The Washington Post
“A masterful, gripping debut…While the plot is propulsive and page-turning, The Hierarchies allows Sylvie’s incisive meditations on beauty and human nature to shine through…. A fascinating take on artificial intelligence. The Hierarchies deserves to be considered a classic of feminist dystopian fiction.”—Jennie Melamed, author of Gather the Daughters
“Wickedly funny…A total page-turner…Offers a terrifying and compelling vision of our future world in which desire shifts with and shapes around technology, and bots are more human than people.”—Katie M. Flynn, author of The Companions
“In The Hierarchies, Anderson has constructed a novel that goes beyond common conversations about what we will do, and what will happen to us, if robot women come into being…. It’s a shocking and eye-opening debut, one that has me looking at my coffee maker a little differently.”—Bitch Media
“Fascinating…Anderson gracefully executes the process of Sylv.ie’s self-discovery, making her feel real and deeply sympathetic…. Readers will be drawn in by Sylv.ie’s emotional story.”—Publishers Weekly
“A searing look at women’s roles, how men view them, and what it means to be human, this is a book that will resonate with many.”—The Parkersburg News and Sentinel
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