Science Book a Day Interviews Anne Charnock

anne-charnockSpecial thanks to Anne Charnock for answering 5 questions about her recently featured book – A Calculated Life

My writing career began in journalism and my reports appeared in New Scientist, The Guardian, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune and Geographical, among others. I was educated at the University of East Anglia, where I studied environmental sciences, and at The Manchester School of Art. As a foreign correspondent I travelled widely in the Middle East, Africa and India, and I spent a year overlanding through Egypt, Sudan and Kenya with my journalist husband, Garry. – From Anne’s Homepage

Anne’s Homepage:
Anne’s Twitter:

#1 – What was the impetus for writing A Calculated Life?

At the turn of the millennium, I read Ray Kurzweil’s book The Age of Spiritual Machines. He predicted that during this century humans will grab the opportunity to improve their intelligence by artificial means. Further, he predicted that these ‘enhanced’ humans will find it difficult to hold meaningful conversations with unenhanced humans. This book really shocked me and I decided to write A Calculated Life to explore where cognitive enhancement might lead. How will society change? How will people interact in such a world? Will it be so bad?

#2 –Do you see our future going this way?

Well, if we can imagine it I reckon it’s possible.

#3 – This book is written from one point of view. What were the benefits of writing the book in this way?

I’ve written a third-person narrative from the point of view of Jayna, an enhanced, super-intelligent woman. It almost feels like a first person narrative because the reader only sees the world as Jayna sees it. And from time-to-time I reveal her thoughts, sometimes as stream of consciousness. I wanted to reveal  Jayna’s innocent worldview through her interactions with other people. Despite her intelligence, she misunderstands her colleagues, she simply doesn’t ‘geddit’ from time to time. By keeping the readers close to Jayna, they see how her worldview slowly morphs. She becomes more critical and she takes risks in her attempts to become more normal.

#4 – The book has had been nominated for a number of awards. How do you feel about the way the book has been received?

Initially I was incredulous, and hugely grateful. It’s far more than I ever expected because I’m a debut author with no track record as a fiction writer. It makes me more confident about getting future work published, which is the very best feeling, though there are no guarantees in this business!

#5 – Do you have any new books/projects you can tell us about?

I have just completed a short novella (perhaps a novelette!) that I’m extremely excited about and I’m hoping to find an outlet for this over the coming months. I hesitate to say more but I’ll keep you posted! In addition, I’m outlining a second novel that spans past, present and future. I suspect the outline will become obsolete once I start writing; the story will find its own way forward!

[Image Credit: From Anne’s Twitter Account]

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