Adventures of the Artificial Woman

March 24, 2006

Adventures of the Artificial Woman Book Cover showing sex robotDo you dream of your own perfect wife, one that you could design to your own specifications, built to please you in every way? Ah, that would be perfect wouldn’t it? The book, Adventures of an Artificial Woman, is a fictional account of just that. But, it doesn’t quite work out as perfectly as the creator of this beautiful and intelligent robot thought it would be.

This is not a science-fiction novel as you might expect with the subject matter of robots. In fact, there are no technical details at all. There are no chronicles of how exactly how he has created his artificial woman. Instead, the author has chosen to begin the story with a fully-realized wife robot.

Author Thomas Berger is the author of twenty-three novels. His previous novels include Best Friends, Meeting Evil, and The Feud, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His Little Big Man is known throughout the world. I have not read his other books, but the reviews for this book indicate that this is not his best work. However, I can say that it does provide quick, fun, light read for those interested in the subject of female robots.

I’ll leave it to Publishers Weekly to provide a synopsis better than I could write:

Prolific novelist Berger (The Feud, Little Big Man) updates the Pygmalion myth with this witty, dark comedy: instead of a lovely Galatea, the protagonist’s manufactured dream girl becomes a Frankenstein’s monster through her ambition. Ellery Pierce, a twice-divorced animatronics technician, can’t find a woman devoid of sarcasm and opinion, so he builds a companion from synthetic skin, batteries and bolts. But Phyllis, his near-perfect female replica, learns quickly and, absorbing the mass media ideal for beautiful young women, runs off to pursue a career in show business. Rising quickly above a stint as a stripper, a phone sex operator and a smalltown actress, Phyllis evolves into a cinema superstar. But when the action movie-going public tires of Phyllis, and the depressed Ellery comes back into her life, she sets her sights on international fame through another venue: the presidency of the United States. With her alternately colloquial and overly formal diction, and her too-faithful adherence to society’s ideals, Phyllis makes for an amusing critique of contemporary American society. In his 23rd novel, Berger skewers modern foibles from reality and daytime television to the cult of celebrity and presidents with voracious sexual appetites. But the brilliance of Berger’s critique is in its levity, and his fanciful plot will keep readers laughing throughout. With few weaknesses, such as the unexplained existence of other robots, this book is the literary equivalent of cotton candy: not filling but fun to digest. Copyright © Reed Business Information. All rights reserved.

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