Troubador Almost Human

Released: 28/11/2020

ISBN: 9781800462182

eISBN: 9781838596125

Format: Paperback/eBook

Review this Book

Almost Human

by

No human being is perfect. But suppose we were able to create machines which are like humans only better? Cleverer, more beautiful, more empathetic, more rational....

The Universal Robotics Corporation is busy greening the desert but empathetic humanoid robots are also in development. The decision to trial them to resolve a dysfunctional marriage ends in catastrophe. When the experiment is extended to three young, single employees it exposes their differing attitudes to relationships and the opposite sex. Agronomist Stella Mayfield’s concerns aren’t shared by the male participants. Seven years on, Stella is back in the UK. Humanoid robots are everywhere and a robot is caring for her elderly mother. The unease Stella felt in the desert returns.

HC Denham gives a unique, often humorous insight into the attitudes of males and females to relationships with the opposite sex and to humanoid AI as it permeates society. But the question hangs in the air:

Are we creating our own evolutionary successors?

Don’t let a dislike of science fiction put you off reading this beautifully written, captivating and highly unusual novel. This is actually a story about love, human relationships, and the effect that the sophisticated Artificial Intelligence could have on all our lives. In fact, the future that it envisages is nearly upon us and the question is posed, if it does become possible to create robots who are like us but more perfect in every way, where will that leave ordinary, imperfect humans?

Against the background of an environmental project in Kenya where robots are being used to green the desert, an experiment to introduce newly developed empathic humanoid robots into domestic situations is also taking place. The experiment has a catastrophic outcome for one couple, but when extended to a trip of young singletons, only the woman, Stella Mayfield, feels uncomfortable at the intrusion at the humanoid robots into her life.

Seven years on, Stella is back in the UK. Sophisticated AI and humanoid robots have permeated and she feels a deep unease at the fact that a robot is caring for her elderly mother.

There are some wonderfully evocative descriptions of both Kenya and the more familiar territory of North London as well as moments of shock and wry comedy, but the novel also gives a unique insight into the differing attitudes of males and females to relationships and to the opposite sex. The dénouement is a surprise and perhaps a glimpse of the future.

by Patricia Merrick


Normally not a fan of science fiction I found the prospect of the infiltration of robots made human (almost) and their often surprising effects on the people supposedly controlling them really fascinating. These creatures are believable and creepy, too useful to dismiss. The descriptions of the settings are particularly evocative. I enjoyed the irony and alternative explanations in the ending. A gripping read.

by NetGalley review


Though I'm not particularly interested in either discussing or reading about the use of robots and the idea of their 'taking over', these themes are so well explored in this book that I was fascinated. As the relationships between humans and humanoid robots are revealed there are several unexpected developments, which the writer cleverly leaves for the reader's own interpretation.
The differences between the male and female expectations of and reaction to the robots is also fascinating, as is the fact that it is Stella, the most dubious and reluctant, who chooses to employ one in the second part of the novel.
This, and the many other themes such as the 'power' of the robots or of their creators make it a very thought provoking novel.
The descriptions of an African desert landscape, Edinburgh and London help to make it very readable, as do the touches of humour, particularly in the portrayal of the all powerful Hod, the bright young 'techie' from Essex with the wannabe Californian accent!

by NetGalley review


Don't let a dislike of science fiction put you off reading this highly unusual novel. This is a story about love, human relationships and the effect that sophisticated Artificial Intelligence could have on all our lives. In fact, the future it envisages is nearly upon us. If it does become possible to create robots who are like us but more perfect in every way, where will that leave ordinary, imperfect humans?
An experiment to introduce empathetic humanoid robots into domestic situations is taking place against the background of an environmental project in Africa. The outcome is catastrophic for one couple, but of the young singletons participating, only the woman, agronomist Stella Mayfield, feels uncomfortable at the intrusion of humanoid robots into her life.
When Stella returns to the UK, sophisticated AI is everywhere and to her dismay, a robot is caring for her elderly mother.
With moments of shock, wry comedy and evocative descriptions of both Kenya and North London, the novel also gives a unique insight into the differing attitudes of males and females to relationships and to the opposite sex and asks some important questions about where technology is leading us. The denouement raises serious questions about the future.

by NetGalley review


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