Book #68

The Pre-Programming by Anonymous

Vulcan’s ancient Automata find their purpose rebooted in the second installment of the CIRCO DEL HERRERO/THE BLACKSMITH’S CIRCUS series. Their immortal human Masters will drop like flies—superfluous in the next round as the gods shuffle in a new deck of fateful cards. The Masters can choose how and when, but they will all die to free the Automata of their earthly chains. Odys and his Automaton, Maud, struggle to protect his twin sister from the plotting of his dual-bodied adversaries. But his sister, Odissa, finds herself a willing participant in The Blacksmith’s latest exhibition—could she be the missing cog to the god’s tightly wound machine all along?

This sequel to The Automaton presents us with the same quirky narrative style, the same subhuman and/or godlike characters, and the same nothing really happens but it all happens through dialogue plot.

Our narrator is relentless here. It seems nothing is off the table as he creates and dissolves toxic relationships, characters, and plot twists as though his life depends on it. Everyone and everything we trusted or relied on (or even liked) in The Automaton is warped and ultimately discarded in this total massacre of the comfort zone.

I was, in a similar fashion to The Automaton, confused and disoriented throughout the whole novel. This was in part due to the strange style and constantly shifting aspects of the plot, but I also felt at times as though I’d missed something; I wasn’t understanding the reasons behind certain situations and circumstances, and I’m unsure whether I was supposed to.

There are interesting explorations of freedom, and what this means - do we have choice at all, or are we all pre-programmed robots destined to live out what the gods decide for us?

I continue to feel quite baffled at all this, but still eager to find out what’s next. That’s the power of the uniqueness this series has - you need to find out what the fuck is going on.