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James Smythe was born in London in 1980. Since completing a PhD in Cardiff University, he has taught creative writing, and is currently writer/narrative designer for a major forthcoming video game. He lives on the grounds of a boarding school in West Sussex. He has also written a novel called The Testimony, which was published by Blue Door/HarperCollins in 2011.
What happens when all the personal information held by tech companies is no longer private? What happens when this code of ethics is broken? When everyone in your world - in the world – can know all your secrets? This thoroughly thought-provoking novel addresses such questions - and more - as it explores the all-encompassing impact of recent, emerging and conjectured future technology through a haunting and powerfully personal account of one woman’s life. It’s 1997 and, at the tender age of 17, Laura Bow has created a basic artificial intelligence, which she names Organon after a Kate Bush lyric. Organon begins life as Laura’s imaginary friend. This creation is her outlet, a vent, a means of dealing with the loss of her father who vanished when she was seven. As Laura grows older and gains more experiences and memories, for a time working at the tech company her father founded and sold shortly before he disappeared, so Organon grows with her. Much like a skilled human personal assistant, it informs and supports Laura through her life, managing what she needs to be aware of, filtering out the superfluous, and anticipating her needs. But, as new technologies are developed and companies create intelligences with far less morality programmed into them than Organon, millions of personal and political secrets are unleashed and the world is sent reeling to the brink of breakdown. Shifting forward in decades from 1997, the cleverly-spun narrative spans Laura’s entire life, from the early years of dial-up Internet, to a speculative future that serves as something of a wake-up call. Taking in artificial intelligence, human intelligence, love, loss, and meaningful memories, this novel might make you reflect on how much time you spend online, and what you do and disclose there. Above all, this is an absorbing story about humanity, making moral choices and living your best life with love and ethics.
How far would you go to save your family from an invisible threat? A terrifyingly original thriller from the author of The Machine. Soon, we'll be able to predict everything. We'll predict weather patterns, traffic jams. We'll predict who is going to run countries. Laurence Walker wants to be President of the United States. He's a sure thing: adored by the public, ex-military, a real family man. A good man. But then ClearVista, the world's foremost prediction software, tells the world his chances. And not only will he not be President, but it predicts that he's going to do the worst thing he can imagine. But can he change that destiny? Or is ClearVista simply showing him the man that he's always meant to be? It will predict that Laurence's life is about to collapse in the most unimaginable way.
How far would you go to save your family from an invisible threat? A terrifyingly original thriller from the author of The Machine. ClearVista is used by everyone and can predict anything. It's a daily lifesaver, predicting weather to traffic to who you should befriend. Laurence Walker wants to be the next President of the United States. ClearVista will predict his chances. It will predict whether he's the right man for the job. It will predict that his son can only survive for 102 seconds underwater. It will predict that Laurence's life is about to collapse in the most unimaginable way.
Haunting memories defined him. The machine took them away. She vowed to rebuild him. From the author of The Testimony comes a Frankenstein for the twenty-first century. Beth lives alone on a desolate housing estate near the sea. She came here to rebuild her life following her husband's return from the war. His memories haunted him but a machine promised salvation. It could record memories, preserving a life that existed before the nightmares. Now the machines are gone. The government declared them too controversial, the side-effects too harmful. But within Beth's flat is an ever-whirring black box. She knows that memories can be put back, that she can rebuild her husband piece by piece.
A tense, claustrophobic and gripping science fiction thriller from the author of The Testimony. A jounalist’s dreams of securing himself a place in literary history, documenting the first manned deep space mission, turn into a nightmare as millions of miles from Earth the body count rises. Please don’t be put off by the Sci Fi tag this is fresh exciting writing; a story with a killer plot, superbly executed and a fantastic series of unguessable twists. With a writing style compared to Kazuo Ishiguro, JM Coetzee, and early Ian McEwan it’s a book everyone should read.
This is a pretty unsettling and powerfully compelling debut, well worth a read for the original storyline alone. The world seems to stop and some people hear the words ‘My Children. Do not be afraid’. Confusion and terror reign and we follow the lives of 26 people not all of which heard the message. This gripping is a high concept dystopian thriller that will appeal to fans of Inception or Flashforward and we look forward to seeing what James Smythe follows it up with.