REVIEW: “Nirvana or Bust” by Michael Swanwick

Review of Michael Swanwick, “Nirvana or Bust”, Analog Science Fiction and Fact March/April (2022): 49–53 (Kindle) – Purchase Here. Reviewed by John Atom.

Huiling is a woman on the run wearing a sentient exoskeleton she calls Nirvana or Bust. One day she meets her old advisor, Catherine, who informs her that her assassin is on the way. Huiling must protect her revolutionary discovery from bother her human and AI pursuers.

In Nirvana or Bust, the author presents a highly automated world where the joining of natural and artificial intelligence is a massive leap forward – even though neither humans nor AI see it that way. This is by no means a new idea, and I’m not sure if the story adds anything new to it. Still, it is presented well and with immersive prose (particularly the dialogue), even if the ending is perhaps a bit too convenient.