Cyborgs, robots, and their artificial kin usually get thumbs-down in ecologically oriented science fiction, but Antieau gives that convention a twist. Her second book begins as a relatively conventional, though poetically conceived and well-executed, novel set in a post-ecoholocaust future in which sections of the U.S. have become technology-barren preserves; within them, healers move gracefully among people who happily raise healthful crops and celebrate one another's diversity. But why does the heroine, healer Gloria Stone, remember nothing of her childhood? Why is she haunted by half-remembered computer codes? Who are the other soothsayers she feels compelled to rejoin? Antieau reveals her heroine's surprising real nature: Gloria is a robot programmed to be "reborn" with a different appearance every 50 years or so and to work at healing the catastrophic damage wrought by the very rampant technology that created her. An innovative, gripping, very satisfying tale.
I read Antieau's incredibly moving Church of the Old Mermaids and decided to try this one out. The first portion feels like Ursula LeGuin's Always Coming Home--post-apocalyptic, post-technological neoPaganism in the state of what was Arizona. About half-way through, via a flashback, it becomes Gibson's Mona Lisa Overdrive. My only quibble is, as with Mermaids, sometimes the romantic interactions between the heroine and her various men seems a little forced or hard for me to relate to. But if you're a fan of post-apocalyptic or cyperpunk novels, you may wish to try this one.