Newitz, who co-founded IO9 and recently moved to Ars Technica has already published marvellous, book-length science non-fiction, but now she's publishing her first sf novel!
The novel, Autonomous is half of a two-book deal that Newitz made with Tor editor Liz Gorinsky. Newitz says, "All the characters in Autonomous are dealing with a fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?"
Here's her agent's pitch for the book:
Autonomous features a rakish female pharmaceutical pirate named Jack who traverses the world in her own submarine. A notorious anti-patent scientist who has styled herself as a Robin Hood heroine fighting to bring cheap drugs to the poor, Jack's latest drug is leaving a trail of lethal overdoses across what used to be North America—a drug that compels people to become addicted to their work.
On Jack's trail are an unlikely pair: an emotionally shut-down military agent and his partner, Paladin, a young military robot, who fall in love against all expectations. Autonomous alternates between the activities of Jack and her co-conspirators, and Joe and Paladin, as they all race to stop a bizarre drug epidemic that is tearing apart lives, causing trains to crash, and flooding New York City.