Machines Like Me – Ian McEwan

Machines Like Me is the fifth book I have read by Ian McEwan. I must say it is different from the books I have read before by him. After watching TV series such as Humans and Westworld, I thought I would enjoy reading it. As with almost every Ian McEwan book, I learned tons of things from it.


Two different themes develop together in Machines Like Me. In the first theme, we see an alternative history of Great Britain. In this alternative history, everything from politics to technology has progressed in a completely different way. For example, the Falkland Islands belong to Argentina, and artificial intelligence has advanced rapidly thanks to Alan Turing, who is still alive. The second theme is about artificial humans who enter our lives thanks to advanced artificial intelligence. Can we live in harmony with these “machines”? Can they adapt to a being as complex as humans? Do they really love, feel, and have free will?

Machines Like Me - Ian McEwan

We listen to the story from Charles Friend, who bought one of only 25 machines. Charles, who is in love with his upstairs neighbour Miranda, thinks that Adam (machine) will help with their relationship. Adam does indeed make Charles and Miranda a couple, but he falls in love with Miranda, which causes a bit of a stir. And the story becomes increasingly complex with what Miranda has gone through in her past.

Ian McEwan is a good author. I am excited thinking that if I somehow got the books, I would read them with pleasure. However, not every book meets my expectations. It is because I have read much better books by him before. Something was missing in this book, too. I would have liked to read a lot more about those delightful machines mentioned, but since the author wants to focus on other issues, there is not much room left for them. Still, I have to point out that this is a good book; It can even be considered a masterpiece besides all the awful books on the market. Enjoy!

Machines Like Me - Ian McEwan

Machines Like Me

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. With Miranda’s assistance, he co-designs Adam’s personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever – a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan’s subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions: what makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart? This provocative and thrilling tale warns of the power to invent things beyond our control.

Ian McEwan

Ian Russell McEwan CBE FRSA FRSL is an English novelist and screenwriter. In 2008, The Times featured him on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945” and The Daily Telegraph ranked him number 19 in its list of the “100 most powerful people in British culture”.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

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