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JF Dubeau's debut novel, The Life Engineered, begins in the year 3594, where humanity is little more than a memory a legend of the distant past destined to reappear. Capeks, a race of artificial creatures originally created by humans, have inherited the galaxy and formed a utopian civilization built on the shared goal of tirelessly working to prepare for their makers returJF Dubeau's debut novel, The Life Engineered, begins in the year 3594, where humanity is little more than a memory a legend of the distant past destined to reappear. Capeks, a race of artificial creatures originally created by humans, have inherited the galaxy and formed a utopian civilization built on the shared goal of tirelessly working to prepare for their makers return.One moment a cop dying in the line of duty in Boston, the next reborn as a Capek, Dagir must find her place in this intricate society. That vaguely remembered death was but the last of hundreds of simulated lives, distilling her current personality. A robot built for rescue and repair, she finds her abilities tested immediately after her awakening when the large, sentient facility that created her is destroyed, marking the only instance of murder the peaceful Capeks have ever known. For the first time in their history, conflicting philosophies clash, setting off a violent civil war that could lay waste to the stars themselves.Dagir sets off on a quest to find the killers, and finds much more than she sought. As the layers of the Capeks past peel away to reveal their early origins, centuries-old truths come to light. And the resulting revelations may tear humanity s children apart and destroy all remnants of humankind....

Title : The Life Engineered
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781941758595
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 175 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Life Engineered Reviews

  • Rhett Bruno
    2018-10-25 18:23

    What a surprise this book was. I saw some reviews on it, thought it sounded interesting, and am glad I decided to read it. This isn't a perfect book, but Mr. Dubeau has skills and is a name I'll be looking out for on the science fiction scene.More than anything, I found this novel to be unique. The main characters are all robots (known as Capeks) who have been left in charge of the galaxy by humanity after their creators went into hiding for unknown reasons. But they aren't your typical, emotionless robots. These Capeks have personalities as varied and interesting as any humans. The main character, Dagir, takes us on an journey to discover the cause between the first acts of violence in Capek culture. There are epic battles between metal behemoths galore, but at the root of everything is a very intriguing philosophical disagreement. That's the real strength of this novel. Mr. Dubeau's world-building is top notch, with nothing as interesting as the Nursery where artificial minds are nurtured. It uses Buddhist mythology, birth, rebirth and nirvana as a way to decide when the mind is ready to be released into the universe. I won't say more than that, but trust me it's a fascinating idea.My one real issue with the novel is that it needed a good editor to trim down the fat. There's a lot of overwriting here. Paragraphs of description that feel redundant because the subtext of the preceding dialogue already told me what was happening, or didn't, but a single line of dialogue would have sufficed. This is already a short read, but that kind of brevity would have made it go by smoother. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this. For a debut novel, Mr. Dubeau absolutely nailed this. I can only imagine the series getting better!

  • G. Derek Adams
    2018-11-18 19:00

    Full Disclosure: I know the author personally - we share a publisher and a place on the Sword & Laser Shelf. I was so relieved that I liked this book. It's never easy to read a colleague's stuff and have to choke it down. I'm predominantly a fantasy reader - but I've earned my spurs reading Asimov, Heinlein, Herbert, McCaffrey, Clarke, etc. - I'm no stranger to space and robots. Let there be no doubt - this is some A+ crunchy nerd stuff here.The world building in this book is, quite frankly, excellent. The level of thought Dubeau has put into every part of Capek society - how it grew from a future human civilization, how the different 'families' of robots interrelate, how the central conflict is spawned from an AI split in philosophy? That's not something you can casually toss out - or execute easily. Here it feels completely natural and intuitive. When you can make an entire race of sentient robots feel natural and intuitive - that is a rare gift. The 'process porn' alone - oh man. The sequence of Dagir's body and core faculties being built in the first act - that could have been 3 times as long and I would have kept lapping it up. The moments where the book delves into a new feature of Capek society or capability - or just the technical 'HOW DO' of it all are delicious nuggets of thought chow. And it's never -feels- like an info dump! Maybe because you just want to know more and more about how the Capeks function? But I found myself reading less for the overarching plot and more for the guided tour of these fascinating robots/aliens. There's also some great (but quiet) thoughts on identity and gender that were very nice.Characterization is also strong - Dagir is the best, of course. Dubeau seems to have an interesting bent for writing devoted, protective, skilled female characters? Her group of allies are freaking great - I hated that so little of the book's runtime was spent with 'the gang' all together. Special shout-outs to Ukupanipo and Hermes. The careful depiction of the antagonist [left unnamed here lest I spoil] is also very nice - I would have liked a little bit more, but the tantalizing tendrils that are there were great.The plot is solid, but I had some quibbles. The over plot - the galaxy spanning mystery - is fine, but it felt a bit mechanical. (pun intended) I found myself drawn much more to Dagir's emotional plot and her connections to her 'son' Jonathan - the resolution of the emotional plot was extremely interesting functionally, but it felt a bit rushed? Everything was nailed down and completed - with interesting hooks left for the planned sequel - but then the curtain came up and I WASN'T READY. LET ME CRY a LITTLE MORE DAMMIT, JF.One other minor quibble: if he Capeks are all named after human mythologies as a sort of genealogy (amazing idea), how have they not used them all up after thousands of years? Like, how are we meeting Hermes and not Hermes10111678B?I enjoyed this book immensely. The plot is a distant third, with the characters second - -and then light years ahead in first the development of a fascinating, unique setting and culture that makes this book so important to read. I had a great time, I have questions, I want to read more.

  • Amy
    2018-11-09 19:13

    I am a sci fi purist. Some might be inclined to use the word 'snob'; I'm in no position to disagree. I like my classics. My Asimov, my Bradbury, my Wells. I have little patience for overly complicated pseudoscience or great space epics. It has been my experience that modern science fiction writing, as a whole, had little to offer me.Enter 'The Life Engineered'.I'm not entirely sure what I expected. Stories in which the artificial intelligences have taken over are not exactly a new thing. This book, however, takes it in entirely unique and unexpected directions. From page one, it's evident that this is something different. It has the charm of Bradbury, the immersive world building of Wells, and the solid scientific foundation of Asimov. There are so many pitfalls it would have been easy for the story to fall into, and yet all are deftly avoided. Complex scientific ideas are well explained without becoming a burden. The AI characters have fully developed personalities (due in large part to the brilliant concept of their genesis) instead of being flat automatons. They have the sympathy-evoking characteristics of human characters without the limits of human forms. (Koalemos will be your favorite; you won't be able to help yourself) It is a well crafted and perfectly paced story. My only complaint is that now I have to wait for the next installment.This is a wonderful universe I am eager to visit again.

  • Steven R. McEvoy
    2018-11-17 19:23

    I was given a signed numbered limited edition copy of this book. But because I prefer eBooks it sat on my shelf for almost a year. But something about the cover and the jacket flap wright up kept causing it to come it mind. So I eventually picked up the eBook, and ripped through it over 2 days in three sittings. For a debut novel this book really impressed me. It reminded me of the classic science fiction I enjoyed as a child, Heinlein, Herbert, and Betser. The story is compelling and the pace is very rapid. It is an intriguing concept . The description of the book is:"The Life Engineered, begins in the year 3594, where humanity is little more than a memory a legend of the distant past destined to reappear. Capeks, a race of artificial creatures originally created by humans, have inherited the galaxy and formed a utopian civilization built on the shared goal of tirelessly working to prepare for their makers return.One moment a cop dying in the line of duty in Boston, the next reborn as a Capek, Dagir must find her place in this intricate society. That vaguely remembered death was but the last of hundreds of simulated lives, distilling her current personality. A robot built for rescue and repair, she finds her abilities tested immediately after her awakening when the large, sentient facility that created her is destroyed, marking the only instance of murder the peaceful Capeks have ever known. For the first time in their history, conflicting philosophies clash, setting off a violent civil war that could lay waste to the stars themselves.Dagir sets off on a quest to find the killers, and finds much more than she sought. As the layers of the Capeks past peel away to reveal their early origins, centuries-old truths come to light. And the resulting revelations may tear humanity s children apart and destroy all remnants of humankind."The world is incredibly well thought out. With different lines of robots but all forming a single society. The mix of different earth mythologies along the different lines of Capeks. There were some real twists in the plot that I did not see coming. First humans have gone missing but they have left behind a vast array of Capeks or robots but not dummy machines. These robots have personality from living virtually many many lives until they are ready to join society in physical form. A Form they design and build themselves. Nut now someone is killing off whole lines of robots. And in trying to figure out why the mystery of why Human's went into hiding starts to play a darker more ominous importance. And my first thought upon finishing the book was I hope there will be more. My second thought was I wish I had read it earlier. It was a great little read.Read the review on my blog Book Reviews and More.

  • GMCL Temecula
    2018-10-30 19:04

    (I received an advance Kindle copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes. This review is essentially the same as the one I posted there.)A clever, unique, and well-polished scifi. I usually tend more toward the fantasy end of the scifi-fantasy spectrum, but the gorgeous cover* and intriguing description of this one really caught my attention, and the contents didn't disappoint.The story itself is pretty simple; a murder mystery with robots. What makes it so good is the insane amount of thought the author has clearly put into the world and what makes it tick. The Capeks are both believable, and relatable, thanks to their (simulated) human origins, and the way the idea of reincarnation and Nirvana was worked into it was fascinating.The author didn't handwave anything; concepts like faster-than-light drives and artificial intelligence are logically explored, and interestingly described. Rather than sticking robots with essentially human minds into human-shaped boxes, they're allowed room to be whatever they see fit. (My personal favorites are the Von Neumanns.) Anyone who likes scifi and robots even a little should definitely check this one out, and anyone who thinks they don't should check it out anyway--they may be pleasantly surprised.- Reviewed by Rachel C.*The cover on NetGalley appears to be newer than the one here on Goodreads. It's much prettier.

  • Paige Green
    2018-11-13 18:24

    Rating: 2/5Genre: Sci-FiRecommended Age: 16+ (some slight mature content, death, violence, robots (if you have a fear do not read!)JF Dubeau’s debut novel, The Life Engineered begins in the year 3594, where humanity is little more than a memory―a legend of the distant past destined to reappear. Capeks, a race of artificial creatures originally created by humans, have inherited the galaxy and formed a utopian civilization built on the shared goal of tirelessly working to prepare for their makers’ return.One moment a cop dying in the line of duty in Boston, the next “reborn” as a Capek, Dagir must find her place in this intricate society. That vaguely remembered “death” was but the last of hundreds of simulated lives, distilling her current personality. A robot built for rescue and repair, she finds her abilities tested immediately after her awakening when the large, sentient facility that created her is destroyed, marking the only instance of murder the peaceful Capeks have ever known. For the first time in their history, conflicting philosophies clash, setting off a violent civil war that could lay waste to the stars themselves. Dagir sets off on a quest to find the killers, and finds much more than she sought. As the layers of the Capeks’ past peel away to reveal their early origins, centuries-old truths come to light. And the resulting revelations may tear humanity’s children apart―and destroy all remnants of humankind. - Amazon.comThis will be a short review. This is the SECOND time I've had to DNF this book. I keep trying to read it because my husband raves about it, but I really don't see why. The book has an intriguing concept, but for me the writing is what keeps me from enjoying it. The characters are also really unbelievable and it really takes someone who loves sci-fi and has a huge imagination to accurately understand this book. I think I'm going to tell my husband I refuse to read this book any longer lol.Verdict: Interesting concept. Weird writing and characters. Read if you like sci-fi and like robots (seriously, robots everywhere!).

  • Elan
    2018-11-11 20:16

    It takes courage-and perhaps audacity-to come out swinging, and I'd say JF Dubeau's debut novel, The Life Engineered, throws a few powerful punches that make his a book worth giving your undivided attention. In many ways, The Life Engineered is archetypical, but in other ways, it represents a novel approach to a classic medium: robot-focused science fiction.The Life Engineered, one of the Inkshares / Sword and Laser contest winners, is available today, at the end of a long and interesting road. Because of its publication through Inkshares, readers have had unprecedented access to information about the writing and publication process, and knowing Dubeau's state of mind put some additional weight behind moments in the novel. But, as I'm learning in a wonderful book called Reading Like a Writer, it is important to look at the words themselves, rather than the extraneous meta-data of the circumstances surrounding their origin. So I will endeavor to do just that.The Life Engineered is several things: it is a love-song to space, a bold claim about artificial intelligence, and a classic hero's journey. And while its plot was a bit predictable, the characters and setting drew me in so effectively that I ignored (or forgot) the predictability in favor of some "wow" moments.And though it bludgeons the reader with references to old mythologies and historical factoids throughout the novel, there's an obvious and clearly-stated reason for it that ties directly into the mechanism through which the robots—called Capeks in the novel, after the Czech man who coined the term "robot"—are given life and sentience.There are three things in particular that made me love this book:The first, as I referenced earlier, is that it is a love-song to space. I am a big fan of space, and I found Dubeau's solutions to faster-than-light space travel, his descriptions of he phenomena taking place in deep space, and his approach to telling a focused story with a small cast in an (ostensibly) endless space to be wonderfully executed. The shifting and warping of space as the sentient ships travel, the beauty of the vastness of space as seen through the eyes of Dagir, the protagonist; it was stunning to read. I would have liked more time with those moments, deeper dives into the extraordinary setting that is at once fantastical and very real. Dubeau clearly put a lot of thought into how to make his far-future Galaxy a scientifically plausible, and I'd have really liked for him to dig into harder sci-fi, if at least to make the book a bit meatier.The second is the cast of characters, who cannot be talked about without addressing the manner of their “birth.” A literal process of samsara precedes every Capek life. The robots' consciousness, before having a body of its own, lives as many lives as is required for it to ascend to nirvana. Once it achieves its enlightenment, it takes an active role in constructing its own body with its "mother", a conscious factory that spans the surface of a moon.I mean...come on. That's pretty great, right? I think it is.As a result, the Capeks that make up the cast of The Life Engineered are varied and fascinating. I thought about what experiences each of Dagir's friends (and enemies) must have had in their gestation that lead them to their choice of physical form, their declared purposes. They fell into natural classifications, but each is a wholly unique being. I want to know everything about all of them. Granted, that wasn't possible in the scope of the story Dubeau told in The Life Engineered, but I posit below that it might have been possible. You'll see what I mean.The third is more abstract, and departs from the Reading Like a Writer edict to ignore the world around this book. I love what this book stands for; what it represents. This thing that we're all engaged in, this dream of telling stories and having them reach a few sets of eyes in the world—that's what The Life Engineered is. And it's a good book! The other books I read for Inkshares didn't feel this way for me. I didn't watch as they were produced. I didn't talk to the writers, or meet them in person. Like it or not, Reading-Like-a-Writer's-author, books occupy a space beyond their word counts and any between-the-lines analysis. To me, this book (and likely the next few I read by authors I consider my friends), will be monumental experiences that transcend words on paper, that supersede even the stories in their pages. But enough about that.My final thought about The Life Engineered is that, though it is a complete start-to-finish story, it feels more like the first act in a larger novel. It may be because I'm used to reading thousand-page epics, but I felt like The Life Engineered was the inciting event. And obviously, it is—Dubeau intends to make a series of it, and has the entire thing outlined, if I'm not mistaken. The type of cliffhanger that closes The Life Engineered is not uncommon, but something about its execution left me feeling unsatisfied. I wanted more, I suppose, and I wanted it right away.Do yourself, a new writer, and great company a favor. Go buy The Life Engineered today.

  • beentsy
    2018-10-29 22:21

    This was such a good book. The concept is really cool and I absolutely galloped through it. Just brilliant.

  • Paul
    2018-10-21 23:05

    JF Dubeau doesn't want to be a writer - the man wants to WRITE. He wants to create worlds, or in this case galaxies, for his imagination to explore unimpeded. He has an overwhelming need to create something worthy of his science fiction heroes while still being entertaining.With The Life Engineered, he does that and he does it well. Dare I say amazingly? I dare.The Life Engineered, at its core, is a story about love. Don't confuse what I mean; there's no making out and holding hands here. It could be akin to what the ancient Greeks called Agápe or Storge. It’s the deeper love given to other living things. The love of how precious a life truly is. The love of family, the desire to remain true to ones beliefs; all courageously explored within these pages. Dubeau deftly navigates not only through the stars but also through the human condition in the guise of sentient robots called Capeks.The Capeks have existed for millennia with one goal; usher in the return of mankind. Dubeau creates a rich, believable reality in which the Capeks have thrived in the absence of their human creators. The world building in the story is fascinating and multilayered, so much in fact, that in the confines of the story, the surface is barely scratched. A plethora of Capek designs and personalities exists from the mundane (think laborer) to the incredible (we’re talking about literal world building here) with each character touched upon at least long enough to pique your curiosity. Hopefully the planned sequel, Arch-Android, which we are teased with at the end of the book, will shed some more light upon the history of this amazing race of AI. I won’t go into the plot much because a synopsis can be found here, as well as other places online, but I will say that the story keeps moving forward to its satisfying, if slightly hurried, conclusion. This brings me to the critical part of this review (I will be grasping at straws here to find a few things). I feel that the first person POV is limiting to this type of story where there are so many new things to be explored, however, I will be the first to admit this is a personal preference and Dubeau handled the POV beautifully by letting the reader experience the galaxy for the first time through the “eyes” of a newborn Capek. Also, I found myself so immersed in the culture of the Capek society that I longed for more input, more information about the how’s and why’s of what these AI’s are capable of becoming. Some expansion surely must show up in Arch-Android in order to complete the minimal dangling threads that Dubeau has skillfully weaved into his yarn. With that said, I believe everything is here to make this story complete, worthwhile, and satisfying. Finally, and this was the biggest issue for me, I feel that the scope of a story like this needs more time to simmer. There are a handful of times throughout the novel where I want to sit with the feelings presented and let them tear me down for a while before the next onslaught. The book moved along at a brisk pace, which is great, but it could have used a few more of those reflective moments. For instance, I will try to stay spoiler free here, there is a scene where we see the sacrificial death of a character and then we are rushed away to another part of the galaxy where we don’t get a chance to deal with the feelings sufficiently. In a society where death is almost unheard of, I would think it would take more time to processes, but then again…robots. During times of conflict there may not be the reflective time I am suggesting, but traveling interstellar distances takes time; time which could be used to further dive into the Capek condition. These are all small grips that I had to put serious consideration into. Truly, this is a great tale with minuscule flaws that most won’t notice.The Life Engineered is a fantastic novel and a terrific debut for author JF Dubeau that is sure to open many doors for this up and coming talent. I know that I will be supporting his next effort, A God in the Shed, on Inkshares.com. You should too.

  • ♠ Tabi ♠
    2018-11-12 17:03

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, despite the few quirks it had that, for me, made the reading of it not as immersive as I would have liked. This is an intricate world portrayed in this story, teeming with many different robotic life-forms. The characters are likable and their tale is an intriguing one, and the science-geek in me danced with joy at the technological aspects scattered throughout the story.But.I wanted to be able to connect with the characters, I really did. There's a fine line one must walk when portraying robots with human tendencies, and while the story describes the characters as completely computerized yet with filtered personalities to make them compatible (and, I figure, relatable) to humans... something just didn't click with me. They didn't seem robot enough, if that can be a complaint.The other biggest thing I had against this story was the pacing. When I wanted things to move fast because it was a tense moment and a lot was at stake, Dagir opened up an information file and I got a bunch of world-building. When I wanted some explanation as to what was going on, things just carried on as if I knew precisely everything and the information had been given to me and I was expected to understand the meaning of the portrayed actions.It was a bit confusing, honestly.But.This is a brilliantly imagined story. As stated before, the science-geek in me ate up the technological parts of the book, described so well that the impossible seemed very possible. The concept of the intricate Capek culture and "caste" system if you will was absolutely amazing. The action scenes were well-written and drew me in, playing in my mind like I was watching them on the big screen. I loved the epic spaceship Capeks and the mythological naming/class system going on with them (though some of the names I still can't pronounce properly!).So, my overall opinion on this book: if you like old-school sci-fi movies, you'll like this book. If you enjoy the vast world of space and all the possibilities it holds, you'll enjoy this book. If you love those intense, mind-blowing space battles of Star Wars, you'll love this book.And if you want to know what it's like from the robot side of things, you need to read this book.

  • Deb
    2018-11-03 19:07

    My son (adult) son really liked this book, and gifted it to me. I didn't share his opinion. I think if I were 40 years younger, when I was in my I, Robot phase, I probably would have given it 3 stars. A young, single policewoman is shot during a hostage standoff, leaving a young son. Fast forward to the distant future. Humans are in stasis, being watched over by artificial intelligent Capeks, whose sole purpose is to protect humans until a habitable world can be created for them. A young 3rd generation Capek is created, and she discovers that there is a rebel set of Capeks intent on finding the human "Dormitory" to destroy it so that they themselves can be freed from what they consider slavery. She also has a distant memory of a young Jonathan. Her quest is to stop the renegade Capeks, and to find out who Jonathan is. I had a hard time visualizing this world, and the multiple Capek personalities. I also felt no connection with the main character.

  • Tyler Hill
    2018-11-08 17:03

    If you've ever heard of Inkshares (a crowd-funded publishing company) you've heard of The Life Engineered. I've heard it recommended so many times that I was glad to pick it up, just by the strength of the good things I had heard. This book was really good! Dubeau did a really good job of getting the reader to empathize with artificial intelligence, and the different classes of robots were explained well enough that I could keep track of all of them. I love books that describe a world that I am happy to spend time thinking about outside of the novel, and the thought of a galaxy filled with AI whose goal is to look after it until humanity wakes from its collective slumber, well, it occupied quite a bit of headspace for a time.If you're a fan of Science Fiction, pick it up. It's worth your time.4.5/ 5 stars

  • Xavier
    2018-11-15 17:25

    If I only had two words to describe The Life Engineered, it would be these: Trope Defying.With this book, J-F threads on the other side of the coin for various tropes of the science-fiction genre, the most prominent one being that robots are present but not against humanity.The one trouble I know some might have is with the names. Each character bears a name from one of the various mythos (A bold decision), making some names extremely hard to pronounce. (Proioxis is a good, early example of this) But in the end, the decision pays off in beautiful way, both in extending the personalities of individuals into their names and in keeping track of the lineage.All and all, a wonderful book which showcases a future relation to robots we should do everything to create.

  • Andrew
    2018-10-21 16:17

    I really enjoyed this book. I didn't know how I was going to like the protagonist being non-human, I've never read a book with that kind of protag yet, but I ended up really enjoying it. The universe the author has created is very unique and I'm interested to find out more about that universe. There are a lot of the authors own creations in the book and thankfully there is a handy glossary at the back of the book to help parse out the differences. The author also does a good job of explaining the differences in the book. The book does leave a lot of loose ends at the end of the book but I believe the author is working on another book in this universe/series.

  • Dan Chaput
    2018-10-30 20:21

    My first story I have read from Mr. Dubeau and all in all was a great read. Looking forward to seeing him grow as an author and to see where he goes in the near future with his story telling. ***Update to the original rating. Got the final version (book form) this past week and have to say reading it a second time as increased the stars to 4. Reminds me of a movie that you see once and after you see it for a second time you pick up or see things that were not there the first time making it that much more enjoyable. Great read and only have one negative thing to add.....I need a sequel!!!!!!***

  • Katherine
    2018-11-02 22:10

    I really enjoyed The Life Engineered. The world is fascinating and has a unique take on the sci-fi genre. It also poses some interesting question on what it means to be human or where the line is between human and machine. I really enjoyed the blending of ancient mythology with futuristic machines, even if in name only. It left a very strong human influence on the Capeks. Our creation stories have given our civilizations such a rich foundation, it would make sense that we would give that same foundation to our machine children.I'm giving it 4 stars because there were places in the book where I wanted more. I'd love for this to have the richness and complexity of Dune or The Dark Tower because the concept is so compelling (no pressure, right J-F. Dubeau?). I also wanted to go deeper into the lore of the story and get to know some of the characters better. We have a decent idea of Dagir's motivations, but what about the others? That could just be a limitation of the first person perspective format though.I'm really glad that there's going to be a second book and eagerly await it. I've already pre-ordered Arch-Android!

  • Jane-Holly
    2018-10-23 19:11

    I found The Life Engineered to be a solid read. It is unique and interesting, while playing with some heavy ideas: reincarnation, what makes someone human (no small feat in a book populated completely with robots), and what a completely robotic civilization might look like. Some of these were introduced without giving them their due - the reincarnation aspect of the Capeks living many lives over and over in the Nursery is just accepted without much thought beyond saying the personalities were "perfected" during this cycle. I also think the author relied a little too much on characters telling their revelation to others off camera and then it all comes together in the next chapter/s. Overall it is a good book, and I hope the sequel isn't too far behind.

  • Ryne
    2018-10-26 19:20

    Life Engineered is as original and thought provoking as any bit of Sci-Fi literature could be. The concept of a galaxy filled with synthetic beings is wholly interesting. Unfortunately, I never really became attached to any one particular character. Dagir is perfectly good protagonist, but I never really connected with her despite my generally positive perception of the character. There are tons of cool concepts though, and I think where this book thrives is as an entry point into a brave new universe where humanity are the mythological ancient beings that built the galaxy, and their "robot" progeny have to navigate the mysteries they left behind.

  • Henry
    2018-11-15 00:07

    I love when I can pick up a book with no preconceived notions and then be so thoroughly surprised at how good it is. This was one of those books. The story and characters were very well crafted and kept me hooked and invested. I can't wait to read more.

  • Liz
    2018-11-15 00:05

    Amazing Ride Through Space!I really enjoyed the flow of this novel. Being able to walk beside and almost touch this culture, well worth the time taken to immerse yourself in. If you love Sci-Fi and robots, please consider picking this book up!

  • Kelly
    2018-10-19 21:13

    I have no idea why I didn't read this sooner. It was every bit as androidilicious as I had been told and then some. I have pre-ordered the sequel and can't wait for it! Highly recommended!

  • Elf M.
    2018-11-18 22:24

    I really, really wanted to love The Life Engineered by JF Dubeau. The back cover sounded exactly like my kind of thing— a posthuman mystery in which the a long-dead police officer finds herself resurrected in the body of a first responder robot; humans have long since disappeared from the galaxy and she is soon thrust into a shadowy war between factions with very different ideas about what humanity's legacy will be.And the cover art is gorgeous.About two-thirds of the way through the book, I really wanted to hate it. A story outline like the one above has so much potential. Like many a book or movie, there's a brilliant idea hiding in the center of this book that's screaming to get out if only a more mature or skilled writer were allowed to develop it.The book is either far too long or far too short. It has two introductory chapters, the first of which sketches (and I do mean sketches) out the setting: two humans have a dialogue about whether or not they entrust their robots to take care of the galaxy while humanity goes into hiding, and decide not to tell the robots where humanity's cryogenic creches will be constructed; they have to go into hiding because a series of neutron star bursts are making the galaxy uninhabitable— they discuss whether or not this is deliberate– but they're wary of their AI children. The second shows our heroine in her 21st century existence, and its conclusion is one of those painful "character development" scenes where the heroine gets beaten/raped/abused to give her a "reason to fight."The rest of the book is a ham-handed expository sequence of our first-person POV heroine telling us what happens next. In a lot of ways, the book reads more like the treatment for an fantastic third-person POV science fiction story like Mass Effect or Dead Space III, only "with robots!". Events leap from setting to setting, incident to incident, with sometimes only very tenuous connections. There are very few surprises in the book, very few twists and reveals. Technological abilities and limitations exist only at the need of the story, and not due to careful consideration of the universe Dubeau had crafted in the previous chapters. Word-by-word, the style is clunky and prosaic, with no attempt to escape, expand, or even embrace the dialect and idioms of the writer himself.What I wanted was something that pointed to the kind of story Iain Banks or Greg Egan would give us, with lyricism, panorama, character and depth. Banks, Egan, and company didn't jusnt plow the ground toward viable transhumanist writing; they did it with enthusiasm, with panache, with style. But plow they did; they showed us where the road points and they dared (and continue to dare) the rest of us to come up to the standards they've set on this new ground.What I got was the awkward retelling of a game session from Steve Jackson's Transhuman Space RPG with some clumsy FTL handwavery added for convenience. There are so many moments in the book which are just disappointing, where the author had a chance to show us how magnificent the sights are, rather than having the main character tell us about its magnificence, or to give us revelation in carefully crafted dialogue rather than just reel it out as another expository lump.In the end, I guess I... liked (?) the book. It ends with a promise that there's more to come, and there's so much hope in this story— not in the story itself, but in writer's potential to mature into something more than just another RPG-esque chronicler. (Not to put down RPG chroniclers; Steven Brust has made an entire career out of it. But he's good at his job!) May Dubeau have a long and happy life; he had patrons for his effort and they deserved better.

  • Nathalie
    2018-10-31 23:07

    Ok, while I am an experienced and avid reader, I am quite new to the Sci-Fi genre, so this review is to be taken, as all things are, with a grain of salt.I'm hesitating between a 3 and a 4-stars, so I'll settle for a 3.5 rating. I really enjoyed the writing and the story. However, maybe it is because novellas aren't my thing, but I wish the book as a whole had been longer. Or rather, that it had taken more its time with the plot and character development? The author glosses over certain aspects and passages that I wish had been explored and/or explained further, and tended to languish in some other places that I felt were unnecessary. Character development is my main, if not only, real issue here. I really liked Dagir at the beginning, but ultimately I failed in connecting with her. I felt almost immediately drawn in by her previous life, Melanie, and I was immediately invested in her struggles and her fears. However, it seemed like as soon as she emerged from the Nursery as the Capek Dagir, she became too "perfect" and therefore she landed a little flat for me. As a result, I didn't really care if she ended up finding Jonathan or not (sorry Dagir!). Moreover, Dagir always knew what to do and, in the rare instances when she did have some doubts, it lasted for barely a paragraph before it got resolved. I do however acknowledge that it was a fine line to walk for the author, since, as I understood it, Capeks are kind of supposed to BE perfected by the whole Nirvana process. But I almost wish the story had been told from Aurvandil's point of view, a seriously flawed Capek with what could have been some promising internal struggles and character growth. Sure, he was the villain (ultimately a victim though, as in my opinion the real villain in this story was Yggdrasil) ... but heroes are overrated anyway!All in all, not a bad read by any means, and I'd recommend it to a friend. The whole Capek society was seriously cool, even though it felt kind of confusing and overwhelming at times (but I'm an easily confused and overwhelmed reader). The foundations of the world-building are solid, and it made me wish the author would have let his readers take a longer peek behind the curtains. The writing is extremely pleasant and well-paced. I hear there's a sequel announced and yeah, you can count me in!Edit: It's been several weeks, and I am itching to pick up this book again to give it another go... that should tell you something. I'm bumping the rating up to 4 stars!

  • Erin Burns
    2018-10-21 17:24

    I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.It has been a very strange year. I guess by now it is obvious that my reviewing rate has significantly slowed. Not much help for it, but for those I am late getting to I sincerely apologize.I requested this months ago on a science fiction kick because the premise sounded interesting. Kind of iRobot meets AI. Unfortunately, it didn't work out so well as those did for me.For dealing entirely with artificial intelligence entities, the author does a credible job of tugging on the readers emotions, though one could wish the theme wasn't "Kill the mothers". But the rest of the narrative was disjointed and engaging on only the most superficial level, as were most of the characters excepting the main protagonist.It is metaphor and analogy with significant religious overtones attempting to span a large scale, and in my opinion it doesn't quite succeed, being clumsy and heavy handed where a certain level of elegance seems called for. And while I decry the killing mothers theme, this does seem to beg for the writer to kill his darlings. This isn't a very long book but often it seemed to take twice as long for him to have his say as was actually needed, but without the luscious turns of phrase as other authors who have made similar (in my opinion) missteps.Where the book succeeds is in the sweeping battles, logic exercises, and the action. And those parts I could absolutely have read more of. And I do want to know more about what has happened Skinfaxi, Belanos, and Koalamos and the Dormitory. And I definitely want to know what else Adelaide might have had up her sleeve and how her mission shook out.And Dubeau did a hell of a job snagging my attention with the teaser for the sequel.But do I recommend this book? Tough to say. I won't be rereading it unless too much time elapses between now and the sequel. But, I am almost absolutely sure I will read the sequel. It wasn't what I was expecting, but that wasn't entirely a bad thing. My rec is up in the air with this one read, at your own risk.https://wordpress.com/post/burnsthrou...

  • Joni Dee
    2018-11-13 19:12

    Before I start reviewing, let me just exclaim that J F Dubeau’s debut novel is brilliant. It has been a while since I had the energy to engage myself in a proper Sci Fi novel, and Dubea’s “The Life Engineered” was exactly what I needed.Most of the book is set at AD 3594, a time where the humans have long left the galaxy. But they did not leave without a legacy… Capeks, a race of AI robots originally created by humans, have inherited the galaxy and formed a civilization built on the shared goal of preparing the galaxy’s planets for their makers’ return.Capeks are able to create their own, and that’s how we meet Dagir, our story teller, a third generation Capek, who’s last incarnation in the nursery (where Capeks “live” hundreds of simulated lives as humans before being ready to emerge to the world), was of a Boston cop and a mom.Dagir, initially built for rescue and repair, joins the Capek society, at a time when for the first time in centuries it sees a conflict between rival Capeks, and the universe is on the brink of a civil war.Who will prevail? What is the mystery in the base of this Capek clash, and most importantly , where and why have the humans vanished? It is left for Dagir and her friends to unravel the answers to these questions…First, I found the writing of Dubeau simply a joy. He manages to set the scene to a whole new universe in just 3-4 chapters, helping us learn everything that is important, with the help of Dagir, as she learns it all for the first time upon the process of her birth. Second, the story is gripping and straight to the point. There’s no mucking about with too much technicalities, something you might have expected when introducing a whole new specie of robots.The story, though may sounds complicated, is quite straightforward: a group of robots is set out to save the galaxy. Whereas in the process we get a brief look into Dubeau’s brain and glorious universe.This has been published with InkShares, which makes you wonder, how much talent is actually wasted out there, for books that will never reach the print. Chapeau to whoever preordered and made this true. Can’t wait for the next one…

  • Joshua
    2018-11-14 23:27

    Disclosure: I got a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The Life Engineered has several unique elements which I love reading:- It has a non-standard main character/perspective. This novel takes place several thousand years into the future. Mankind has gone into a hibernation of sorts and left their AI children to safeguard the galaxy.- It allows the story to be as long as it needs to be. The books isn't 300 or 400 pages simply because that is how long Novels are Supposed to be.- It has Mysterious galactic Bogey-Men blowing stuff up.The central tension of the book arises out of the first element that I enjoyed. J-F Dubeau gives us a very good picture of what a society entirely composed of AI might look like. There is generally no conflict in this society. Why would there be? Conflict stems from differences that become insurmountable through impaired communication and misunderstanding. These AI have all be crafted by the human race and although many are specialized and think differently from one another, there are no barriers to communication.That is how J-F Dubeau's vision of an AI society functions, but it would make for a rather boring novel. The Life Engineered begins with the assault on and destruction of one of the 'Gaia'-level AIs. The Gaia AIs are all important as they host the nursery which births new AIs and also act as a ruler in addition to parental duties. There are less than a dozen of these throughout the entire galaxy, so the destruction of even a single one is a huge blow with massive ripples across the AI-populated galaxy.After this event we follow Dagir, a spunky little Capek (AI), on her quest to help stop the extermination of the entire human race.

  • Montzalee Wittmann
    2018-10-18 17:12

    The Life Engineered by J-F Dubeau is a powerful and awesome sci-fi book that should be a movie! I am an old woman and have been reading sci-fi since I was a small child and have been a sci-fi geek since. I read hundreds of books a year and this book is in the top 10 books I have ever read in the sci-fi category. I loved it! I won this book from Goodreads and I am so glad I did, and it is a real book, no ebook! The setting is far in the future where Earth was going to be inhabitable so humans planned to go into stasis until it was safe. The main scientist's wife didn't trust the robots to protect and wake them so she convinced her husband to make it so only the last generation of robots, and only a special few, would know when and where to find them and wake them. Two thousand years later, her paranoia paid off. The story is about a select few of these unique sentient creatures that are for and against humans, even though humans seem to be a thing of legend at this point. Robots have inherited the galaxy and tirelessly formed a society throughout the system. The author draws you in from the very beginning and through out the book you learn the society, the wonderful variety of robots, their abilities, and why this new robot is special. This book has all the action, adventure, thrills, emotions, uniqueness, intrigue, and twists you would not expect from a book about robots. The characters so well developed and complex and the plot is excellent with lots of unexpected turns and surprises. I can't wait for his next book. I hope a director picks this book up and reads it so we can some day see it on the big screen as I have seen it in my imagination! Wonderful job! I will be watching this author!

  • Crittermom
    2018-10-26 22:27

    The Life Engineered is the most marvelous and innovative science fiction novel that I've read in quite some time.  Imagine a world where your nature, your evolved self determines the form your body takes and the abilities it has.  Imagine a world of creation, free of conflict.  This is the world inherited by the capeks, a race of sentient artificial beings.  This is the world that Dagir (Day) is born into, moments before her creator/mother Yggdrasil is destroyed - an unprecedented act of murder.  By nature, Dagir is both a healer and a seeker of truth, and the search for the destroyers draws her into the secrets of the past, the origin of the capeks, and the hidden remnants of humanity.  The capeks are not robots, nor are they androids replicating human emotion.  They are each unique in body, personality, and function.  Their design is an extension of their selves and their desires.  There is such magnificent variety amongst them, from the planet sized Gaia class and the sleek Sputnik class explorers to the Von Neumann swarms.  Dubeau's universe is complex and beautiful.I was engrossed by the story, but more than that I was entranced by the richly imagined background.  Good science fiction not only tells an amazing story, it envelops the reader in a vastly different world.  Good science fiction not only describes the impossible, it makes the reader believe.  The Life Engineered made me believe - and that in my book makes it unforgettable.5/5I received a copy of The Life Engineered from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.--Crittermom

  • Oliver Tooley
    2018-10-30 16:04

    Love it. This is the first finished Inkshares production I have read in its finished form.The story was engaging and I could really involve myself in the difficulties of the non-human characters, partly because their characters were in fact so utterly human.The concept is not a million miles away from one I have recently explored in a short story, although the story, the execution and the quality of the world is far better developed.The plot is engaging and very credible. I loved the use of names from a variety of human mythologies and religions. It does allow for a formidable array of potential names in perpetuity across the story arc (I see that a sequel is well underway)The Inkshares team have surely lived up to their claim of being a truly professional publisher given the quality feel (even in mere digital form) of the book. I found the style very readable, and not one mistake in grammar, spelling, or punctuation throughout the main text. Unlike many self published books, including my own, and even a fair few professional efforts.I found only one teeny nitpicking gripe. Right at the end in the glossary the word "less" being used where "fewer" would in fact have been correct; a product of American/Canadian convention rather than British? I am only saddened to think that my own novel is still miles short of the target for receiving the Inkshares treatment, and I will probably have to go back to the self publishing model with all its inherent flaws

  • Koeur
    2018-10-19 21:59

    https://koeur.wordpress.com/2015/12/2...Publisher: InksharesPublishing Date: March 2016ISBN:9781941758595Genre: SciFiRating: 3.2/5 Publishers Description: JF Dubeau’s debut novel, The Life Engineered begins in the year 3594, where humanity is little more than a memory—a legend of the distant past destined to reappear. Capeks, a race of artificial creatures originally created by humans, have inherited the galaxy and formed a utopian civilization built on the shared goal of tirelessly working to prepare for their makers’ return. Review: Reviews on this work are varied. Some liked the storyline while another reviewer said it had visualization issues. There is, to a degree, a lack of descriptive enterprise where not enough information is imparted to accurately visualize 1) space battles 2) various Capeks 3) reincarnation space 4) galactic travel. These are pretty important themes to the main storyline and ultimately provide elements of a wholly developed character(s). Because of this it was hard connecting to any of the characters which may be a facet of the robotic genre. Most of the dialogue was of the internal kind, from Dagir’s perspective. The writing, technically, is very good and will only get better as the storylines are parsed to accommodate considered scene progression.