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 Ah, there is nothing like good, hard scifi to stretch those theoretical muscles.

Cassandra is a GI, a Skin, a synthetic human created to fight an interstellar war. And even among other GI's she is an abnormality. Her designation is a number higher than her companions, she is fond of books and music, has aesthetic tastes that seem out of place in a man made weapon, aesthetics that are absent in, and serve as a source of bemusement for her squad. 

When the book opens Cassandra is happily applying for computer jobs, working at settling into a civilian life with enthusiasm and a rather endearing fascination with everything. Unfortunately her past doesnt seem to be done with her. A horrifying encounter with an underground element leaves her scarred and in government custody, where scientists and politicians try and sort out whether she is what she professes, a retired soldier, or merely a lethal weapon.

What intrigues me about this book is the old question, whether artificial sentience can count as human or not, is explored in ways that seemed fresh. Cassandra admits to her programming and her past, but at the same time really wants nothing more than a nice relaxing job doing something she is good at that doesnt involve fighting and killing. She is continuously under interrogation, asked to defend herself and her motives, and manages to get friends in unlikely places as her actions back up her words in ways that leave little room for criticism. There is a fantastic wit involved. I can imagine sitting in a cafe and having a coffee with Cassandra, and enjoying every minute of it. There is precious little angst or brooding over her state of affairs. Cassandra is more at a loss as to how to convince them of her intention than anything else. It kept that aspect of the story from getting unwieldy or overdone.

Crossover is part hard military science fiction and part exploration of exactly what it means to be human. The cast of characters is fantastic, and Cassandra herself is utterly believable and wonderfully engaging. 

Crossover was an excellent read, and the first in a trilogy. I honestly went and bought the next two books when I was about 100 pages into Crossover. I was that sure I would enjoy every word. And I was right.

March 2015

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