Analysis, trends, calculations, manipulation; these are the core themes of the tech-fi novel A CALCULATED LIFE. Exploring the humanist/artificial intelligence interoperability/compatibility (or lack thereof) with the respective character leads in a post modernist society driven by enhanced brain stimulus and increased cogitative function sees protagonist Jayna, a young enhanced analytical mind, question the shackles bestowed upon her with a view to break and escape.
Author Anne Charnock, has, with Jayna, created a likeable and identifiable young women who is empathetic, emotionally numb, enveloped in a blanket of wide-eyed innocence - at least at the beginning. When she starts to deviate from her programming by showing a side of her independent self, the story really shows promise. Here, Jayna forms her own emotions and uses her calculations, not for the purpose of work, but to forge a life of her own.
I kept waiting for that key moment where Jayna breaks free and the cat and mouse chase by her handlers ensues only to be rewarded with something slightly different yet just as satisfying. While A CALCULATED LIFE might not be high in thrills, it is high on emotion and heart – interesting considering the character the novel revolves around.
Overall, I enjoyed A CALCULATED LIFE. Its premise is interesting and not without room for expansion. The characters are believable and Jayna is heart-warming while hinting at a darker, more evocative side.
Recommended for tech-fi fans.