Machines Like Me

Paperback, 306 pages

English language

Published April 18, 2019 by Jonathan Cape.

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3 stars (5 reviews)

Britain has lost the Falklands war, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In a world not quite like this one, two lovers will be tested beyond their understanding.

Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans and – with Miranda’s help – he designs Adam’s personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever. It isn’t long before a love triangle soon forms and these three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma.

In his subversive new novel, Ian McEwan asks whether a machine can understand the human heart – or whether we are the ones who lack understanding.

11 editions

Review of 'Machines Like Me' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

This book was a mandatory read for a course I’m following, the main reason being the relationship between the humans and the AI, Adam. As someone who is actively studying the human relationship to technology, it was quite interesting to see the dynamic between Charlie, Miranda and Adam develop. I wish I would have bet money on how it would end though. Spoiler: the same way as every other fiction about this topic. Sympathy for the AI. All the political context seemed to be no more than a distraction from the predictability of the story. Why two stars? Because somehow I was still curious to see how little Mark would end up and how Miranda’s court case would turn out. It passed my time. Otherwise, pretty unnecessary book.

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4 stars
avatar for Steven

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4 stars
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2 stars


  • Fiction, alternative history
  • London (England), fiction
  • Fiction, psychological
  • British and Irish fiction (fictional works by one author)