This is an extraordinary novel in the tradition of the great old-school literary sci-fi a la Atwood and Bradbury. The writing is lovely, the plot is compelling, and the subtle themes — vocation, nobility, cruelty, pecking order, individuation — are skillfully woven in full service of the story. It seems odd to say the characters are relatable — they’re not human! — but in a very “Brave Tin Soldier” kind of way, they come to life as diverse, funny, authentic and mostly likable folk. The protagonist, Paftoo gives us a poignant vision of a theme park world we have no trouble relating to because it’s a world once inhabited by humans.
We meet Paftoo at the moment he’s struck by lightning, and the way we’re continually reminded of that *reboot* keeps the tension building. (Do we have all Paftoo’s memories or is some vital part of the story lost in his haunted circuits?) His infirmity and yearning and his quest to befriend and rescue Lifeform Three ring true, and we’re continually stung by the high stakes because of the unforgiving pragmatism that rules his destiny: Paftoo and his kind are well-maintained as long as they are of service, and when they’re not, they’re efficiently disposed of.
Applause to Roz Morris. I loved her first novel, MY MEMORIES OF A FUTURE LIFE, and was eagerly awaiting her next book. I’m so glad she didn’t let the market chatter rush her. This book is thoughtful, carefully crafted, and strangely emotional. I truly thoroughly enjoyed it and have been recommending it all over the place.