Review: Uncanny Valley by C. A. Gray

Author: C.A. Gray

Narrator: Melissa Williams

Length: 8 hours and 45 minutes

Publisher: Wanderlust Publishing

Released: Mar. 27, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Rebecca Cordeaux knows exactly what her future will hold: she will marry Andy, her crush of the last five years. Once Andy is ready to settle down, she’s sure he will discover that she is his soulmate. After several small parts on stage, Rebecca knows she can become a renowned actress. Her writing also shows promise as a future author. Robots perform most human jobs that can be automated, leaving many free to pursue their personal creative interests.

But Rebecca’s mother Karen fears the new world of robots, and insists her brilliant daughter join a university research team, studying the hazards of a complete robotic economy. Rebecca’s father Quentin was obsessed with the subject to a degree that even her mother considered absurd, prior to his untimely death. So long as she can
reserve enough of her time to pursue her true passions on the side, Rebecca half-heartedly agrees to join the research team, if only to please her widowed mother. There she joins a post-doc named Liam, whose conspiracy theories rival even those of her late father.


Liam is convinced that world Republic leader William Halpert’s worldwide challenge for researchers to develop synthetic creativity will lead not to the promised utopia, in which every kind of human suffering has been eradicated, but rather to an apocalypse. Rebecca, whose best friend is her own companion bot Madeline, writes Liam off as a bot-hating conspiracy theorist, just like her father was…until she learns that her father’s death might not have been due to mere happenstance.

With Liam’s help, Rebecca learns of an underground organization known as The Renegades, where Quentin Cordeaux was considered a legend. While Liam attempts to stop Halpert’s challenge if he can, Rebecca tries to unravel the mystery of what happened to her father. Did he and many of his contemporaries die for something they knew? Who is the mysterious informant who calls himself John Doe, and only seems to want to drive her out of harm’s way? And if Halpert’s challenge is answered, will it usher in a brave new chapter in humanity’s history… or were Quentin Cordeaux’s dire predictions right all along?

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The moment I saw that this audio book would go on tour, so to say, I volunteered. I love scifi, dystopies, fantasy etc, and the synopsis sounded promising.

 

Set in the not too far future, robots have taken over lots of work places, leaving those, whose places they fill in, poor and destitute.

As if this wasn’t enough, the world leader in robot technique, Halpert, challenges the intellectual elite to develop AI that can have emotions, and that can learn.

Data from Star Trek–The next Generation comes to mind. If you’ve followed this series, you’ll know that Data strives for getting the chip providing him with emotions, and ends up having to make a very difficult decision.

Here, the bots don’t have emotions, empathy or anything alike — yet — or have they?

Rebecca is about to find out. Is there actually a conspiracy going on? And what would be the consequences if Halpert & Co get their way?

 

The questions are answered within the book, although the ending promises a sequel.

It is not exactly an action story, lots of philosophical and ethical questions are raised and discussed, but there is some danger, and some action, too.

On the whole, it isn’t a predictable story, although I guessed who the ominous leader of the resistance was — and I guessed correctly.

I loved, that we have the pros and cons re:  AI in general, and empathic AI in particular.

Is one worse than the other? More dangerous to humankind? About to take over the world?

In our day and time, A.I. and Industry 4.0 are being broadly discussed, so the topic of the book is a very current one which concerns us all.

So, OK, we are being steered in a specific direction, but then, it is important to be aware of the consequences.

We all want our data to be protected, yet here I am, having a blog, using social media sites, and doing online purchases, profiting from all the technology that makes life so much easier.

So, this is a great book about a subject that concerns us all.

Narrator Melissa Williams does a great job, although I didn’t enjoy the high-pitched voice she used for Rebecca a lot — but of course that is very subjective,since I generally prefer a deeper voice.

I recommend this book not just to young adults, but to everybody.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by C.A. Gray. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

By day, C.A. Gray is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) with a primary care practice in Tucson, AZ, and she writes medical books under her real name (Dr. Lauren Deville). She lives with her husband, with whom she maintains a facetiously contentious movie review blog, and travels as often as they can get away. When not writing or seeing
patients, she does yoga, drinks red wine while eating dark chocolate, and consumes audiobooks like there’s no tomorrow!

 

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Narrator Bio

Melissa lives with her family, including two dogs and a cat, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near Denver, Colorado.

After having a corporate job for most of her life, and as a self-proclaimed introvert, she decided to leave corporate America to work from home. Voice overs had always tugged at her heart as something she would like to explore, so she attended some classes and landed with a company that taught her how to break in to the industry.

Loving to read, she explored the fast growing world of audiobooks and fell in love with it. She has ten audiobooks under her belt and is currently working on the 11th. Understanding that she should always be learning how to improve her skills, she is currently working with Sean Pratt.

When not talking to herself in a padded room, she can be found walking her dog, singing or fishing the Arkansas River.

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3 thoughts on “Review: Uncanny Valley by C. A. Gray

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment. 🙂 I agree, I somehow find a deeper voice easier on the ear. Then again, there are lots of very talented female narrators out there, so unless they have a very high voice, I enjoy them very much. 🙂

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