The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport

Samit Basu

★★★★★

To call The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport a cyberpunk version of Aladdin would be a disservice. It takes that as a starting point and gleefully launches into a tale of political upheaval, prize-fighting robots, kaiju and mechs, unwanted legacies, family secrets, betrayal, loyalty, a Not-Prince, oppression, opulence, AI rights, pervasive surveillance, masking who you are, and of course sufficiently advanced technology that can grant wishes (only three for the trial period, but unlimited wishes can be unlocked for…well, you get the idea), all set in a crumbling spaceport slowly sinking into the mud on a backwater planet where everyone’s sure the world is ending soon, but no one’s sure how or why, and it hardly matters because no one can afford to leave anyway.

It’s a glorious mishmash of all this and more, wrapped around the human Lina and her monkey-bot brother Bador, filtered through a storytelling bot who has just woken up from being factory-reset and is trying to make sense of the totally illogical humans and bots, not to mention the city itself.

Great fun, highly recommended.

Online at The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport.