• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of Activation Degradation by Marina J. Lostetter

Lostetter's standalone science fiction is a story about robots, a ragtag space crew, friends like family, and reimagining one's place in the universe.

Its one job was to fight the invaders. It had more information on how to sauté spring onions than it did on the aliens.

Activation Degradation, standalone science fiction from Marina L. Lostetter, begins with Unit Four's initial activation. It has just become sentient, and like its robot sisters, it has been programmed to fight the aliens currently attacking its ship.


But whether it's a glitch or instincts that shouldn't be possible, Unit Four realizes that the situation as its handler has explained it doesn't quite add up.

When Unit Four is taken onto the enemy alien ship as a prisoner and is unable to communicate with its handler, it begins to understand that all is not black and white, and that it may need to rethink all it has been taught to believe.

Lostetter's book started off with a lot of logistics that slowed things for me, but as of page 66 the action and character development and exploration of morality and friendship and life purpose began clicking along.

Activation Degradation explores what makes a person worth saving--or simply existing--as well as unconventional love and relationships, personal responsibility, sacrifice and bravery, and staying open to revolutionarily new ideas and ways of looking at the world--and the universe.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Activation Degradation has echoes of Martha Wells's Murderbot books centered around a grumpy, skeptical AI, as well as a wonderful ragtag, loyal space crew reminiscent of books like The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet.

Lostetter is also the author of the books Noumenon, Noumenon Infinity, and Noumenon Ultra.