Autonomy is a beautifully written and profoundly enthralling novel that made me wonder if Joan Didion had started writing literary fiction. Set in a near future where Canada is a protectorate of the United States and highly advanced AI has begun to express its desire for embodiment, Victoria Hetherington's second novel is an interspecies love story as well as an apocalyptic cautionary tale. Mind-bending and affecting, it deserves a wide readership.
Michael Redhill, award-winning author of Bellevue Square
Autonomy gives us a strange love story between a disembodied AI and a struggling woman in the midst of class strife, plague, and environmental disaster. Hetherington's depictions of the near-future are very nearly depictions of our present, with its surveillance and cruelty, its global wastes and losses. Hetherington's vision is bleak, but her glittering prose gives even the most monstrous realities of late-capitalism an unsettling glimmer.
Liz Harmer, author of The Amateurs and Strange Loops
Set in the near future, Hetherington explores the relationship between a woman and her AI companion against the backdrop of a Canada on the brink of collapse. Hetherington leads us through a gripping account of what it means to exist — for the living and for the AI who desires life. Haunting and compelling in both vision and imagination, Autonomy is filled with powerful insights into our human need for survival, companionship, and constant questioning of mortality.
Ann YK Choi, author of Kay's Lucky Coin Variety and Once Upon An Hour
Victoria Hetherington's intimate and eerie forewarning to a not-so-distant future is remarkable, and I couldn't put it down. Autonomy is an assured, grounded, and fresh feminine perspective in the world of science fiction storytelling. A much-needed voice!
Aisling Chin-Yee, Canadian film director, writer and producer
Hetherington's Autonomy is nominally a dystopian vision, but it is marinated so reasonably in what is now, that it's almost too late for it to be cautionary. Hetherington's real shocks are managed at sentence level — causal phrases that turn on precise, alarming language. A breathtaking book.
Tony Burgess, screenwriter and author of Pontypool Changes Everything