Annie Bot Is a Chillingly Prescient Novel That Asks What Happens When a Sex Robot Realizes Her Worth

Annie is the perfect girlfriend to Doug. She’s beautiful and perfectly proportioned, with a slim waist and big boobs. She exercises and reads. She doesn’t get in the way. She always greets her man with a smile and a kiss. She’s never moody. And, most important, she is always ready for sex—any type of sex Doug wants.

Annie isn’t a human, though. She’s a Stella, an AI robot that—in the near future—men can purchase in order to provide them with the companionship they lack. And while Annie’s world, as detailed by author Sierra Greer in the new novel Annie Bot, may seem like a far-fetched piece of science fiction on the surface, it’s so strikingly similar to our own that the circumstance she finds herself in is chillingly possible, and maybe even prescient.

Annie is set to “Cuddle Bunny” mode, meaning her raison d’être is to be a sexual companion for Doug (there’s also a Abigail mode—a housecleaner—and a nanny mode for men with children). Annie is programmed to want to please Doug at all times, both emotionally and sexually, and, when she doesn’t do so, is left in physical and emotional agony. But after a few years of ownership, Doug is trying something new. He has set her programming to “autodidactic” mode, meaning that she can now grow and learn, making her more human-like than robot-like. And for the first time, Annie is beginning to question the reality she’s in.

This is the stage on which the novel, which is out on Tuesday, is set, and it’s a fascinating world to be thrust into. Through Annie’s eyes, Greer explores misogyny, toxic masculinity, abusive relationships, and, as she tells Glamour, the way “certain people are treated like objects.”

“The space of this novel is a scaled-down, one-on-one version of a patriarchy that mirrors much of the society I’ve grown up in here in the US, so it feels very familiar to me,” she says. “In a way, making Annie a robot gave me a device to explore a very intimate, human relationship.”

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Annie Bot and the mirror it shines on the way women are treated in our society since I tore through it a few months ago (nor have I been able to stop casting the—hopefully—inevitable miniseries in my head). Ahead of its debut, I chatted with Greer about the real-life inspiration behind her novel, what she wants readers to take away from it, and the (frightening) truths embedded in its science fiction.

Glamour: Annie’s story feels so real, yet the novel is very unique. How did you have the idea for this book?

Sierra Greer: I was tinkering around with a short story when Annie appeared in it briefly, and the novel grew up around her character. She was a much more advanced robot than I’d previously imagined, very close to human, with a moral compass, and the tension of her almost-ness was really fascinating to me. She made me consider how certain people are treated like objects, and how power dynamics can be harmful to the people in charge too. In short, I had a lot of messy ideas that played perfectly into Annie’s story.

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