The Actuality

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Pub Date 20 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 20 Jan 2022

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Description

Fear makes her human
Humans make her fear

Evie is a near-perfect bioengineered human. In a broken-down future England where her kind has been outlawed, her ‘husband’ Matthew keeps her safe but hidden – until her existence is revealed. Now Evie must take her chances on the dark and hostile streets, where more than one predator is on the hunt.

Fear makes her human
Humans make her fear

Evie is a near-perfect bioengineered human. In a broken-down future England where her kind has been outlawed, her ‘husband’ Matthew keeps her safe but hidden –...


A Note From the Publisher

Optioned by BBC Studios

Optioned by BBC Studios


Advance Praise

‘Written with flair and humanity... mesmerising.’ Simon Ings, The Times

The Actuality offers a rich contemplation of ethical and philosophical questions about artificial life and intelligence.’ John Self, BBC Culture

‘Exquisite... Not since Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep have I felt so strongly about where artificial intelligence might lead us. Highly recommended.’ Christina Dalcher, author of VOX

‘Engaging, fast-moving and surprising... The novel gives familiar science fiction themes a fresh and compassionate look, and makes of them something new.’ Ken MacLeod

The Actuality walks that ever thinning line between science fantasy and reality... A stimulating and thrilling read.’ Paul Burke, NB Magazine

The Actuality is smart, literary science fiction.’ Ollie Kirrage, Infinite Speculation

‘Written with flair and humanity... mesmerising.’ Simon Ings, The Times

The Actuality offers a rich contemplation of ethical and philosophical questions about artificial life and intelligence.’ John...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781913207984
PRICE £8.99 (GBP)

Average rating from 5 members


Featured Reviews

The Actuality is an intelligent take on some relatively old themes. I was immediately impressed with the lyrical prose. It was such a pleasure to read with its flowing narrative.
The initial part of the novel is relatively slow, but this is where we find out the whys and wherefores of the existence of Evie. We also get an insight into her inbuilt conscience, who for some reason is male, which Evie names Simon and who tends to sulk and snipe a lot.
Of the two humans in her life, one is her husband, Matthew. He is getting old, and she frets as to what will happen to her when he dies. The other is the servant of Matthew, Daniels. Evie likes Daniels, and the feeling is mutual.
Being forced out into the world after being locked up for years would be terrifying enough but, Evie was like a new-born baby taking her first steps in the world. Only this world was in total disarray, with high crime rates, economic crisis, pollution, and dilapidated buildings, to name just a few of the ongoing problems facing Britain. You could add climate change, food shortages and the usual haves and have nots scenarios.
The author paints a pretty bleak and ominous picture of Britain, with vivid and disturbing descriptions. It makes for dark and grim reading at times but is always fascinating. Even when the narrative moves further afield, to France and Austria, it is not exactly paradise.
Evie has to go through some nightmare experiences. Though not all of it is graphically portrayed, it is still gut-wrenching to read about. So, there is some colourful content along the way, but it is few and far between. Evie has to go through some nightmare experiences. Though not all of it is graphically portrayed, it is still gut-wrenching to read about. So, there is some colourful content along the way, but it is few and far between. Tragedy is a common occurrence in the novel, and as it revolves around Evie, it is hard to make out a case for the goodness of humankind.
The Actuality is full of ingenious and intelligent ideas. Yes, we have seen similarities from authors such as Philip K. Dick but, Paul Braddon has taken them to another level entirely. (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? happens to be one of my all-time favourite books.) Just as an extra thought, I am so glad the new cover of The Actuality has a photo on the front cover depicting Evie. I tend, through force of habit, think all female AIs look like Rachael from Blade Runner.
As Science-Fiction Dystopian novels go, The Actuality has an inventiveness, intensity and power about it that pulls you in from start to finish. Just for the sheer emotional content alone, it deserves high praise. Yes, there are parallels to other Sci-Fi novels, but they are not so obvious as to stand out. There is nothing new under the sun, as the saying goes.
The plausibility of The Actuality is something that would not stretch the imagination too far. In fact, I would say it is the most realistic scenario that I have come across in a novel for a long time, especially considering the way the country is heading. It is hardly surprising that it ticks all the boxes for an excellent Science-Fiction novel. I have an idea The Actuality could end up being one of those ‘Sci-Fi Noir books’, but I am also hoping it will become a best seller. This would definitely make for excellent TV or maybe the big screen.
I highly recommend The Actuality, whether you are into the genre or not. It is an enthralling and intriguing insight into all things AI. Beautifully crafted and written, designed to fire the imagination and leave the reader with much to ponder upon.
Thank you, Paul Braddon, Sandstone Press & NetGalley, for the incredible ARC.

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Evie is a near-perfect bioengineered human. In a broken-down future England where her kind has been outlawed, her ‘husband’ Matthew keeps her safe but hidden – until her existence is revealed. Now Evie must take her chances on the dark and hostile streets, where more than one predator is on the hunt.

This is totally not the kind of book that I would normally read. I am not a fan of sci-fi novels however the premise of this caught my attention and I thought I would give it a go.

And I am definitely glad I did. This was a really entertaining novel which kept me gripped throughout. Set hundreds of years in the future it gave an excellent glimpse of what the future planet may look like and the problems we face in terms of climate change and the future of technology.

However, above all that was a really thrilling plot with a delightful twist at the end which I have to say I did not see coming (although it seems so obvious now!)

Thanks to Netgalley and Sandstone Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This was a good read that has a great storyline with an almost lyrical narrative and an interesting storyline. The characters were well written and well developed and I really enjoyed it.

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