I’ve read all of the books in the Vinestead Universe and Perion Synthetics is definitely my favorite. Verastiqui’s books inhabit the same universe, but stand alone and can be read in any order. I’d recommend starting with this one.
In Perion Synthetics we get a very fast paced sci-fi story stuffed with action. The enigmatic head of synthetic human development company is rumored to have cancer and be unwilling to be treated. Several news reporters get into Perion’s massive beta test. A huge utopic city populated by androids living with humans. Cooking their food, picking up their garbage, and raising their children. There are multiple people within and without the city looking to exploit the founder’s illness for their own ends.
Explosions, gun fights, and heads being ripped off make for a very quick read. But as with his previous books, the ideas behind that action are also fascinating. We start out with fairly simple ideas of robots as servants, and the rights of robots, but move quickly into human aspirations. Robots as augmentation. Robots as immortality. Robots as warrior saviors.
All of this takes place in a world saturated and motivated by media. With implanted streams that go right into our brains. It takes place in more or less the present day in some alternate universe and even though some of the tech feels like it’s a few years out, it seems very plausible. This feels like speculative fiction.
I definitely recommend taking a chance on this one.