Cover art for My Heart Is Human depicting a human heart at the center of a computer screen with wires attached to it.

Greetings, Seekers! I (Jonathan) have been traveling a lot for work per usual. A positive side effect of all those flights is more time to read. Here’s my spoiler-free review of the last book I finished: My Heart Is Human, by Reese Hogan. Please keep in mind that this is just my opinion and you may vehemently disagree with it at your leisure.

Cover art for My Heart Is Human done by Moorbooks

Genre: LGBTQIA+ Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction

Overview: Joel, a single father, encounters an illegal AI that becomes part of him–quite literally. He’s forced to choose between reporting the AI, called Acubens, or using its abilities to create a better life for himself and his daughter, Clementine.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

My Heart Is Human Book Review

I discovered My Heart Is Human through my friend and coauthor, Kristina. The premise instantly caught my attention. Anything to do with artificial intelligence and the technological singularity makes my socks go up and down, and Hogan’s story offers healthy portions of each topic. I was also delighted to see that the main character is a gay, trans man, a rarity in any genre. Furthermore, the book’s publisher, Space Wizard, specializes in queer science fiction and fantasy. (Shameless plug alert: Kristina has signed with Space Wizard for her debut solo novella: Tavern Tale. Sign up to back her project and get updates here)

Okay, back to My Heart Is Human. One of the best parts of the book that’s easy to overlook is the setting. It’s post-apocalyptic because of a virus that caused advanced technology to run amok, and climate change. Part of San Francisco is submerged, no one has a smartphone, and computers are forbidden. Job scarcity exacerbates the gulf between the wealthy and those just trying to survive. It’s all eerily plausible and gritty, and makes Joel’s choices all the more relatable.

Speaking of Joel, he’s a thoroughly enjoyable main character. His arc from hapless pharmacy tech to reluctant hero feels believable. The gender dysphoria he experiences as a trans man and his struggle to find romantic partners who accept him as he is are poignantly rendered. On the flip side, Acubens makes for a compelling anti-hero. Hogan does a brilliant job of keeping the reader guessing about the AI’s true motives. The breakneck pace of the story also lends itself to the AI’s characterization as a rapidly-evolving entity.

My quibbles are few and minor. The side characters do not feel as well realized as Joel and Acubens. And the romance arc I found somewhat implausible, although I liked Joel so much that I was rooting for a happy ending regardless of whether it made sense.


My Heart Is Human deserves praise for its compelling setting, main character(s), and exploration of themes relevant to today’s readers. I could easily see this being adapted into a thriller movie, all the more so because it’s palatable to audiences that might not ordinarily go for sci-fi. Hogan’s work has vaulted to the top of my list of reads for 2024 so far. I look forward to seeing what else he creates. You can check out My Heart Is Human and his other writing on his website.

If you’ve read this book, what do you think? Tell us in the comments. (For more book reviews by J&K, go here.)

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