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Mechanize My Hands to War (Hardcover)

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The debut novel from Erin K Wagner is a chilling nonlinear sci-fi that examines androids as a labor force in conflict with both human farmers and homegrown militias in near-future Appalachia

Deep in the hills of Appalachia, anti-android sentiment is building. Charismatic demagogue Eli Whitaker has used anger toward new labor policies that replace factory workers with androids to build a militia–and now he is recruiting child soldiers. 

Part of a governmental task force, Adrian and Trey are determined to put a stop to Whitaker’s efforts. Their mission is complicated by their own shared childhood experiences with Whitaker. After an automated soldier shoots a child during a raid to protect Trey, both grapple with the role of androids and their use in combat.

Interrelated with the hunt for Whitaker, farmers Shay and Ernst struggle after they discover their GMO crop seeds have failed and caused a deadly illness in Shay. To help manage, they hire android employees: Sarah as hospice, and AG-15 to work the now-toxic fields. The couple’s relationship to the androids evolve as both humans get progressively more sick. 

Timely and chilling, Wagner's nonlinear debut shares intimate narratives of loss, trauma, and survival as the emergence of artificial life intersects with state violence and political extremism in rural Appalachia.

About the Author

Erin K Wagner is an associate professor of liberal arts and sciences at SUNY Delhi and an active member of the SFWA. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Apex, and a number of other speculative fiction publications. She has two novellas, The Green and Growing (Aqueduct Press, 2019) and An Unnatural Life (Tordotcom, 2020).

Praise For…

Praise for Erin K Wagner:
“Wagner’s writing seats itself deeply in each individual narrator’s perspective and explores the tension between individual agency and the undeniable pull of the strange. Readers are sure to be enthralled.” —Publishers Weekly
An Unnatural Life will appeal to the philosopher within its audience, those who want to cozy up and consider a lightly challenging moral and ethical dilemma.” —BookPage
“Wagner is a master of effective dialogue.... A powerful contribution to ongoing conversations regarding post-colonialism and the response of colonizing powers in the wake of ecological and cultural devastation.... A lyrical, potent tale.” —Strange Horizons
An Unnatural Life’s focus on justice, police brutality, the rule of law, and who will speak for those who are not heard has only become even more pointed and relevant…. For me, the strength of this work [are]…the themes and questions that it raises.” —
“Very clear connections to our past and present made this one a timed read, packed with foresight and heart.... A book that is easy to read, but hard to forget.” —Queen’s Book Asylum
“A brief, tightly written examination of how the introduction of AIs might affect our justice system.... A very interesting and engaging novella.” —Civilian Reader
“I was not prepared for the way An Unnatural Life would make me feel. This is a brilliantly written novella, one that hits rights in the heart.” —Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks
“The story draws you in, and draws you along at each moment, becoming more and more fraught. Brilliantly written, and a brilliant story.” —SFF Reviews

Product Details
ISBN: 9780756419349
ISBN-10: 0756419344
Publisher: DAW
Publication Date: August 13th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English