A Calculated Life

Anne Charnock
A Calculated Life Cover

Enjoyable & short


Jayna is a simulation of a person... or she's a person... or maybe there isn't any difference. She's designed to be smart, compliant, and happy, though those plans for her don't necessarily survive contact with the real world.

This book is very much post-cyberpunk, which I find to be a comfortable sub-genre. Technology is a big part of the world, though not necessarily of everyone's life; The world hasn't fallen apart, but has continued to be moderately shitty in new ways; and the illusions of modern life stay mostly intact.

Reflecting on it, I really liked the story. It didn't tread new path, but it was ok for that, taking well-formed thematic bits here and there and putting them together.

A note on the audiobook version: The narrator's voice drove me crazy. At first her voice just seemed like the normal, pleasant, British-accented narrator that one might expect, but after a while I realized that every single sentence had the same cadence and inflection. I don't know a better way to describe it other than that the musical tone of her voice slowly increased as the sentence went on and then dropped down at the end of the sentence. And I understand that that's how sentence inflection works, but something about the way that every sentence was inflected identically, to a point where it was robotic, drove me bananas.