On the dyson sphere Shenzhen, artificial intelligences rule and humans live in luxury, vying to be chosen as host bodies—called haruspices—for the next generation of AI, and thus be worshiped as gods.
Doctor Orfea Leung has come here to escape her past of mercenary violence. Krissana Khongtip has come here to reinvent herself from haunted spy to holy cyborg. But the utopian peace of Shenzhen is shattered when the haruspices begin committing suicide, and the pair are called upon to solve the mystery—and survive the silent war between machines.
And Shall Machines Surrender (Prime Books) is a lesbian space opera/cyberpunk thriller pitched as NieR: Automata meets Miss Sherlock, taking place in a utopia that serves as the rare haven in a universe that imploded into war after AIs declared independence from humanity and established their own rule. Takes place in the Machine Mandate universe but is strictly standalone.
…the perfect example of how much can possibly be packed into a novella. The equal depth of style, story, characterization, and world-building is quite striking […] Such cinematic elegance is what makes this novella the most accessible work by Sriduangkaew.J. Moufawad-Paul, author of The Communist Necessity and Continuity and Rupture: Philosophy in the Maoist Terrain
And Shall Machines Surrender is as gripping as a Jason Bourne novel, trim yet packed with detail. For its boldness, the book deserves to be read. For its quality, it is essential.Aurealis Magazine
- References to transphobia and homophobia as experienced by a tertiary character. The setting of this novella, Shenzhen, is queer-normative. However, one of the tertiary characters fled from a Handmaid’s Tale-style regime that is violently homophobic and transphobic. The violence this character was subjected to isn’t described graphically but is discussed; this character was not subjected to sexual assault. The character and zer history are confined to a small section of one chapter; references to and instances of homophobia and transphobia don’t recur elsewhere.
- Graphic sex. Fully consensual; no instance of sexual assault occurs in this book. If you’ve read Winterglass and Mirrorstrike, this is about the same level of explicit. More specifically: one instance of choking (in a consensual BDSM context), a few instances of sensory control (where one woman voluntarily gives another woman control over her sense of touch), and a few instances of simulated knifeplay.
Short stories taking place in the same universe
‘Where Machines Run with Gold’ in The Future Fire. A soldier takes on a beheading dare and comes to meet her agreed-upon sentence in a small, strange city ruled by a mysterious lord. Space opera Sir Gawain and the Green Knight retelling. Stars the Alabaster Admiral at the beginning of her career; takes place a long time before And Shall Machines Surrender.
‘Then Will the Sun Rise Alabaster’. On a remote planet, a convent harbors a deadly secret buried beneath quiet violence–a secret that the woman known only as the Alabaster Admiral will obtain at any cost. A story from the perspective of a young woman forced into religion by violent imperialism. Takes place after ‘Where Machines Run With Gold’ but before And Shall Machines Surrender.