Saturday, 8 September 2012

Review of Automaton by CL Davies

Author: CL Davies.
Available in Kindle and paperback.
Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars.

Automaton by CL Davies is her debut futuristic novel with a unique twist. It begins as a novel with seemingly real people in the real world but gradually the plot unfolds and you begin to view two worlds, one real and one engineered. Welcome to GameWorld, where the characters are controlled by real people outside. Are you intrigued? Think of the Trueman Show (1998) –the movie which starred Jim Carey, who seemingly lived in a perfect world with a perfect life, until he discovered it was engineered that way and he was in fact living in a bubble. This is not the Trueman Show re-modelled in any way, but reading it sent me down the good old avenue of deja-vue.

GameWorld is not the perfect life in a perfect world. If you break the rules you are eliminated but I won’t spoil it and tell you how. One of the twists is that whilst many of the people there are in fact androids, some are human and have been ‘microchipped’ to respond to their controllers and to fit in and live in this engineered environment. 

Lily and Dean are the protagonists here, a couple living a good life in the safe environment of GameWorld. That is until certain lives become unsettled in the real world and the human controllers begin to dabble and cause havoc in paradise. 

The CEO, Madison, is in charge of this very lucrative empire where  characters are bought and sold by those who can afford to do so. It is set on an isolated island and riddled with cameras and microphones. Some of the characters know that they are being monitored and observed and this causes a degree of paranoia for one character in particular. Controlled by their owners, their lives are televised to the public in the real world and it makes for dramatic viewing. 

The thoughts and actions of the controllers and of the CEO and his staff are at times shocking and bring a multitude of social, moral and humane arguments to the fore. One of the most gripping twists is the connection between the real world, real people and GameWorld. I’m not in the habit of relating storylines and giving away plots so you really will have to wait until you read the book. 

As for literary merit, Davies has an easy, flowing style with a concise narrative. It is well written with use of poetic language, imagery and vivid description. The dialogue is natural and the main characters and protagonists are well developed. There is plenty of tension and a number of twists as you journey through this world and you won't be disappointed. You definitely want the best for them and I found myself willing a certain ending to happen. Did I get my wish? I can’t say just yet but not every story can have the ending of your desires, don't you agree?