Reading

The Goddess In The Machine & The Chapter In Binary

If you’re here just because you want the binary chapter translation – skip to the SPOILER WARNING heading!

From Lora Beth Johnson’s instagram.

Lauren here – seasoned member of the month-old Court of Books and Bullshit club, cousin of Willow and book-lover usually lacking the commitment to actually, well, read.

Book one on our list – The Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson – certainly set the bar high. With an imaginative storyline, a made up dialect of English, oodles of intrigue and a butt ton of twists, we definitely had enough to talk about.

Our plan to ‘meet up’ at the mid-way point turned out to be slightly flawed, when, one week after reading commenced I received the following message from Willow: “Oh my goooooooooooood!! The end of part two!” I already knew my cousin had superhuman speed reading abilities, so I can’t say I was surprised that she was already halfway through.

I excitedly read on, wondering what an earth was about to happen to Andra, the book’s protagonist, who wakes up from cryonic sleep on another planet 1000 years later than she is supposed to. When I reached the end of Part Two myself a week later, my jaw dropped so low I’m surprised it didn’t dent the floor – so I couldn’t blame Willow when, on our mid-way call, she had a confession to make; she had finished reading already.

With Willow carefully avoiding any spoilers – and given the ending, that’s pretty impressive – we happily spent an hour discussing our favourite characters, which characters we would like to have a stern word with, and what we (well, I) thought was going to happen.

*spoilers below* *spoilers below* *spoilers below*

Image by Sonika Agarwal on Unsplash.

I enjoyed two more weeks of reading before our next call, which started, not with pleasantries, but with me shouting: “I KNEWWWW she was an AI!”

‘Errr…pardon?’ enquired a bemused Willow, who had only heard gargled shouting, thanks to my appalling internet connection. 

With a new twist every few chapters, the book ended with lots of unanswered questions, one of which was: waaaiiitttt… do you reckon the chapter written in binary actually says something?  As it turns out, yes. Yes it does. We took one for the team and diligently translated Chapter Forty, and for anyone who is wondering, this is what it says:

The Binary Bit – Translated

I am not a Goddess, I am not a human, I am a machine. 

AndraAI

Andra

AI
AI
AI
AI

AI

I do not exist

Dun dun duuuuuuuun! So, a success for book number one, and on to the next in the line up: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. Let’s see how long it takes Willow to devour this one! 


Image by Elia Pellegrini on Unsplash

Willow here – it’s funny how we perceive ourselves compared to how others see us. As a library assistant, I consider myself quite a slow reader compared to my colleagues, but I guess I do read relatively fast? So many books, so little time.

GODDESS IN THE MACHINE has been languishing on my shelf for a little while now and I’m thrilled to concur with Lauren – it rocked. It smashed my expectations. It leans into fantasy-tech, which is great – I’m all about that life – and has a uniquely dystopian/sci-fantasy aesthetic.

It constantly played on your feelings of doing what’s best for you, having those desires BURNT, and then doing the perceived morally right thing. It didn’t go straight for the obvious hero tropes, and I enjoyed that. I also enjoyed how 50/50 I felt about the romance. Lauren and I didn’t dig it. We both agree that Zhade is hilarious, a fun character, and a consistent wild card. While neither of us were hot on the romance, we did enjoy the push and pull of Andra and Zhade’s feelings.

Gonna be real with you, I hard-core shipped Andra with the side-kick: Wead. But by the end, I was shipping her with the villain. Heaven help me, I’m a sucker for a pitiable villain.

My final note is how I love it when authors include a recurring object throughout the story that is either mysterious or seemingly insignificant, or both. This happens in GODDESS, and I was very satisfied and surprised when it came to light.

My remaining questions however, are how did humanity so completely forget how to use technology? Why do the vast majority of people consider it “magic”? One-thousand years is SO LONG, how have more people not redeveloped the foundations?

What do we predict for book two?

Lauren reckons that Zhade is actually an A.I as well!

Willow predicts Marret will get a difficult redemption arc and Zhade will become a sympathetic villain.

Overall, we want book two and we want it now! Roll on September. But first, THE INVENTION OF WINGS by Sue Monk Kidd…

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