Monday, July 27, 2015

Book Review: The Evolution of Robert Carr by Paul K. Lovett

The Evolution of Robert Carr
By Paul K. Lovett
Publisher: Lulu Publishing Services
Published: April 17, 2015

Amazon Synopsis:

Paul K. Lovett's science fiction satire The Evolution of Robert Carr is an audacious, operatic romp through a dystopian near future where genetic enhancements have pushed the divide between rich and poor ever closer to its social breaking point. 

The subversive tale opens on Robert Carr's eighteenth birthday when he is about to join the top 2% of the population by becoming a recipient of an exorbitantly expensive neural enhancement procedure. Yet Robert is rather uniquely reticent to the prospect. He fears becoming distant, cold, inhuman, like his enhanced best friend. And that his girlfriend, one of the revolutionary Dragoons, will spurn him. Ultimately, Robert accepts the procedure, citing all the advantages in life it will give him. But he gets much more than he bargained for. Aurora, the supercomputer used to create the enhancement program has become sentient, giving Robert an unexpected 'gift.' And once he leaves the confines of uDesign, the giant bio-tech corporation that performed the enhancements, his life takes an extraordinary and unexpected turn.

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 My Thoughts:

In this science fiction, dystopian novel, artificial intelligence has been created. Its name is called Aurora. Humans were now being enhanced, changed genetically and neurologically. Without the enhancements it was extremely difficult to get into a good university or get a good job.

Robert Carr was turning eighteen and his parents had remortgaged their home in order to provide the enhancement procedure for their son. Though reluctant to undergo the procedure, he did it anyway to please his parents. To his parents delight, the company provided the just released version 2.1 of the Z14 neural implant for free.  Upon waking from the procedure, Robert hears a voice in his head. He thinks he has gone crazy, but in reality he has met Dez, Aurora’s offspring.

Often when we look at artificial intelligence and human longevity in novels the humans want to load themselves into the computer as a way of living forever. In this novel, the computer wants to become human in order to experience all that humans can experience. The AI does not have the five senses that the human body does and Dez relishes all the experiences he feels while he inhabits Robert Carrs body.

I have to admit I was very surprised by this novel as it was not what I had expected. There were a lot of twists and turns, some which went places I was totally surprised at.

I liked the struggle to decide whether or not to get the genetic alterations and the neural implant. It really would change a person. Robert voiced those questions well. There were some definite positives to the procedure though – curing of illnesses and allergies, increased longevity. But would things like never sleeping again be a negative or a positive?

I thought that the method the Dragoons were using to fight the authorities to try to get equality was a very poor way to go about it and found it somewhat ironic that Dez, as an artificial life form was helping them.

The story moved along at a good clip occasionally veering off course to explain or describe situations of other characters related to the main characters. This helped the reader to better understand the main character.

There was quite a bit of profanity in this novel and reference to sex so if this is offensive to you as the reader, you’ll want to consider this before you pick up the book.

I thought the book would have been better without the profanity and references to sex. It was perhaps longwinded in some areas but the premise of the story was quite interesting. I gave The Evolution of Robert Carr 3 stars out of 5.

Thank you to the publishers for providing a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

Paul K. Lovett is a seasoned Hollywood screenwriter with the emotional scars, caffeine addiction and chiropractic bills to prove it. He is best known for the feature film Four Brothers, starring Mark Wahlberg. Paul has penned over thirty scripts in every genre for most of the major studios, including Universal, Sony, Paramount, Fox, Disney, Dreamworks and HBO. The Evolution of Robert Carr was born out of a desire for genuine self-expression, resurrected from the smashed and trampled piƱata pieces that once comprised Paul's creative integrity. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and daughter.

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