The Mad Scientist's Daughter Paperback – January 29, 2013
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Nominated for the 2014 Phillip K. Dick Award.
Named a B&N Bloggers' Favorite Book of the Year, 2013.
“Cassandra Rose Clarke has delivered a novel that is brave enough to take on one of the largest issue’s confronting all of us today—just what exactly it means to be human in a time when the definition of such seems to alter almost daily in the face of whirlwind technological change. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a haunting, memorable, and very original love story, told in an alluringly graceful prose.”
Peter LaSalle, author of Tell Borges If You See Him: Tales of Contemporary Somnambulism
"one of the most heart-clenching and gut-wrenching love stories I have ever read ... an instant favorite with fantastic re-readability."
-Vicki, Open Book Society
"Fantastic character building and a truly classic love story make The Mad Scientist’s Daughter a literary classic for lovers of both genre fiction and classic romance."
-Catherine Russell, Functional Nerds
"With this second book, Clarke has cemented her status as a must-read author. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is really something special."
-A Fantastical Librarian
“The characters are what drives this story, whether it’s Cat struggling through life, her mad yet grounded and caring father, the friends and lovers Cat meets throughout her life, or Finn, the android who doesn’t want to be human yet seems like the most perfect creation.”
– Shades of Sentience
“I urge you to read this book, it will haunt you and stay with you for a long time. It is very hard to believe that this is only the author’s second novel – bravo Miss Clarke!”
– Geek Syndicate
If you are looking for hearts, flowers and candle lit dinners you won’t find it here but if you are in the mood for a tear inducing, head shaking, heartbreaking, but ultimately uplifting love story, within an unusual setting and with a unique love interest, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is for you.
-Caroline, Big Book Little Book
"The author captures the idea of lonely people circling around each other, coming together briefly and then separating again. I think it’s part of what makes this book so melancholy, but it also makes the times the characters do connect extra sweet."
- Tammy Sparks, Books, Bones & Buffy
"Even if you don’t consider yourself a science fiction fan READ THIS BOOK. It is gorgeous and thought provoking and fascinating. Even better – try and get someone else to read it at the same time. It’s a novel that demands to be talked about."
-More Than Just Magic
"Cat’s longing and desire for Finn is a force of nature, and the tragedy, and joy, of Cat and Finn’s romance will stay with you long after reading the last page."
-My Bookish Ways
"It's a neat premise and Clark examines the ramifications with the precision of a poet, eschewing the genre's typical preoccupation with science and opting instead for a dramatisation of the love affair. Hard SF aficionados be warned: this is SF for admirers of The Time Traveller's Wife."
-Eric Brown, The Guardian
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0857662651
- ISBN-10 : 0857662651
- Publisher : Angry Robot (January 29, 2013)
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.03 x 8.4 inches
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,996,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The story is told from the POV of Caterina ‘Cat’ Novak, the daughter of our titular mad scientist. Set is a dystopian future America, her father, Dr Daniel Novak is a preeminent Cyberneticist and the start of the novel he brings home Finn, an android, to live with the family. Cat is only a little girl at the time and as per a normal child’s viewpoint doesn’t quite understand what is happening, thinking of Finn as a ghost.
As the novel unfolds we grow up with Cat, starting as a rather precocious child all the way into her adulthood. Once Cat grows out of her childhood she becomes more and more distant to her true self, allowing herself to be pulled along with what others want of her. Not what she wants for herself. I felt that she lost her own sense of identity. Her only real touch stones were her relationships with her parents and Finn.
Her relationship with Finn was complicated. He started off as a friend and confident whilst he was tutoring her but as she got older that changed into a deep and abiding affection and then love. But Finn is an android and doesn’t have feeling so Cat represses her own feelings and judges herself not to be ‘normal’. I wished there was more written about Finn as I found his scenes to be fascinating.
Cat struggling to accept herself for who she is becomes a major theme throughout the book. She mentions wanting and trying to be ‘normal’ many times throughout the story, it’s at these points that I feel she divorces herself from what she wants and goes along with what others are telling her to do. Most of these choices are not what is best for herself and leads her to become more and more distant to the events of her life.
Cat is a deeply flawed character and one I did have trouble really understanding and connecting with but I found myself pulled along with the story. She made some choices that I am still conflicted about and don’t necessarily agree with. By the end of the novel you do understand how much she has grown throughout the book and is aware that her choices have hurt those who love her. She isn’t perfect but she does grow up and mature.
Overall, this is a captivating novel that focuses on a single person’s story rather than a big ‘let’s fix the world’ saga. The story is often melancholy and emotional with a unique voice on what it is to be human and to love.
4/5 Stars! Original dystopian science fiction with a moody, dream-like narrative!
Note: Vaginal Fantasy February 2018 Alt book
Let's just cut to the chase: I love this book. I love this book to the depths of my soul. I sped through half of the book and then didn't want to finish, it was so good.
This book really doesn't seem like the type of book that I would love. I mean, I love science fiction, and I love romance, but this book isn't really either. It's post-apocalyptic-science-fiction-romance-character-study-drama. Like Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series, it defies categorizing. Like Gabaldon's series, it isn't just a romantic story, it isn't just about the science-gizmos, it's not just about a terrible thing that happened in the past that made Kansas a desert.
But maybe that's why I love the book so much. Maybe because the book is more than just a girl wanting to hump a guy or a wallpaper science fiction novel is why I want to squeeze and hug and love this book to death.
Maybe I love this book because the characters and situations, while maddeningly frustrating, are so gorram real. Cat is one of the most selfish, unlikable, lazy, unmotivated protagonists I've read in awhile. And yet, I liked her. I know, it's weird, but I could understand a lot of the reasons why she did what she did. I got why she ran off to college. I got her responses to other character's death. I understand why she married who she did. It made sense to me - even as I was yelling at her not to do it.
And all the characters were this way - Finn, Daniel, Richard, Cat's mom, Cat's art friends. They weren't bad, they weren't good, they were PEOPLE. Believable, relatable, realistic people, warts and all.
Or maybe I love this book because at the end of the day, it's more a character study, more about the humanity of the machine and the machinations of humanity than it is about Girl Meets Boy and Wants In His Pants. Is it wrong for Cat to love Finn, to be intimate with him, when he has no feelings? Can machines love? What does it all mean, when you get more feelings from a machine than a human being?
No, this isn't perfect. There are slow spots. There are maddening character decisions. And the book is rather melancholy, right up until the very end. And speaking of the end, gorrammit, why was it so gorram short?! All this time, and we get a couple of pages and BOOM! Over?! WRONG!
BUT I DON'T CARE! I love the writing, I love the characters, I love how it is more than it seems from the outside, I LOVE THIS BOOK.
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Top reviews from other countries
These are definitely some of the more three-dimensional characters I've read recently, particularly those on the periphery of the story, such as the parents, even the other scientists... Everyone is well thought out and written about. In fact, the prose and Clarke's voice in general is wonderful.
The near-future world creates the platform for a beautiful romance that might one day be reality. I love, love, love books like this that demolish genre borders and create something new. It harkens to The Time Traveller's Wife in terms of genre cross over, I'd say, though it's set in the near-future so it is a little bit more sci-fi. More than that, it's about relationships, their build up and break down, the grieving period that comes with loss and those we turn to to power through it. It's a beautiful read.
Cat is the daughter of two eminent scientists. She lives a pretty carefree existence, studying what she pleases and playing in the garden of her family’s isolated house, until one day her father brings home Finn, whom he introduces as Cat’s new tutor. Over time, she and Finn develop a bond, and eventually their friendship turns into love. The only problem is, Finn isn’t human. He’s the first and only one of a new breed of incredibly advanced robots.
The story spans thirty years, from when Cat is a young girl, through her adolescence and into womanhood. I don’t think a year is ever actually specified - artificial intelligence is common, the earth’s climate has changed and there is space exploration and colonisation - but the feel of the book is very current, in the way people speak and the things they do.
The writing in this book is beautiful and melancholy. I’m not really one to cry over books, but I did feel myself misting up on occasion and Cat and Finn’s story stayed with me for ages after I’d finished the book.
Cat is a flawed protagonist, and all the better for it. She is selfish and makes some really bad choices and she’s annoying as hell in some places, but you still find yourself cheering her on. And Finn... I kept having to remind myself: he’s a robot. But I think that’s the whole point of the book.
I guess really the author is asking us: at what point does something stop being a machine and start being a living entity? Is it with self-awareness? The ability to think and learn independently? The ability to love?
This book is so many things: romantic without being schmaltzy, sci-fi without being overly technical and philosophical without being inaccessible. I’d recommend it to anyone.
This review is also on my blog: www.bookblogbird.weebly.com
I think people who want to write "literature" are creeping into SF. You are no good at it! Go away! Go and write novels in the 19th or 20th century. Stop polluting science fiction. We want galactic empires- we don't care how you feel.
This time 1 star was what it deserved.