Title: Memento (The Illuminae Files #0.1)
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Published: May 2019
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Readership: Young Adult
December, 2574. Forty-three days before the BeiTech attack on Kerenza IV.
This is the story of my first friendship.
This is the tale of my first murder?
Some monsters are born.
< ERROR >
I was made.
When Amie and Jay announced that there would be a prequel novella to their very beloved Illuminae Files series, everyone went a little crazy. Then it was made known it would feature everyone’s favourite, murderous AI, AIDAN and the excitement levels peaked. … then we found out it would only be available in the U.S. unless you pre-ordered Aurora Rising from the U.S. and things got a little weird, and quite heated, which is ridiculous because author’s are not in charge of printing rights.
Because I’m a huge fan of the series, and happen to be in a position to order internationally, I jumped on board that train and I do not regret it at all.
Memento is a short look at how AIDAN (Artificial Intelligence Defense Analytics Network) came to be the way it is at the beginning of Illuminae, where we discover quite quickly that this artificial intelligence is doing some mighty strange things for a computer.
We follow crew members of the Alexander who interact with AIDAN daily beginning six-weeks prior to Illuminae. Private First Class Olivia Klein is assigned to work with AIDAN to assist it with behaviour protocols. Quite quickly this devolves into AIDAN learning and adapting what it has learnt with dire consequences and it was a lot of fun to read.
Besides AIDAN’s development, we learn more about some of the side-characters from the Illuminae series, as well as the day-to-day running of the Alexander. There are inter-office relationships (which become a big sub-plot that drives some of AIDAN’s narrative) and crew dynamics, and many broken, damaged people trying to get by with their lives.
One of the most fascinating aspects of The Illuminae Files, and AIDAN in particular, has always been how the AI rationalises its’ actions and we get to see the beginnings of that in Memento. Humans place a lot of innate trust in technology and yet here they’ve created something that can learn and they don’t fully comprehend the implications of that.
Am I biased in my review of Memento? Of course I am – it’s part of a series I love a whole lot and focused on my favourite character within that world and I am so glad I had the opportunity to revisit this world.