Quantum Messenger follows an AI as he gains sentience and begins to question humanity. What were some driving ideals behind this story’s development?
I considered the story more in relation to how a soul would develop and about the human values that make up what forms a soul. It’s an extension of The Soul Prophecies theme in the series. Feeling and understanding emotions are separate things, so with Apollo I wanted to take it a step further and work out what he needed to do to deal with these emotions. He responds badly at first, but learns lessons as he goes by. It’s what we do as humans but don’t always realise it. It was important for Apollo to learn empathy too, so that he could deal with these emotions by observing others – including other robots.
Apollo was fascinating to watch develop. Where did the idea for Apollo come from?
It’s strange. I knew the story I wanted to tell but didn’t know how to approach it at first. I didn’t want the book to be another clichéd trope because it was important for me that I needed an extension of The Soul Prophecies series itself. The birth of a soul from alien (Lost Frequencies) and human (Another Path) into machine, as with Quantum Messenger.
I started the book with the opening I had in mind and Apollo was born from that. I first I didn’t know whether to write the book from the viewpoint of the conscious mind itself. I toyed with ideas but Apollo came to life in my mind. So much so that he haunted my dreams and wrote a song, which is now being released to coincide with the book launch!
I felt like this novel did a great job of exploring what makes us human. Was that intentional or incidental to the story you wanted to tell?
It was certainly the story I wanted to tell. Having explored the alternative way humans could have lived their lives, on Planet Iyeeka for Lost Frequencies, it was important to document the reality of the human soul. We take so much for granted, but all of our emotions are precious, they make us what and who we are. We are all flawed but we all have good responses to situations too. It’s important to recognise that. It’s important to say, ‘I was wrong’ and ‘I don’t know’ and learn from mistakes and help others, forgive others and ask for forgiveness.
What can readers expect in book five of your The Soul Prophecies series?
I’ve attempted to create an infinity loop with the four books in the series so that any book can be read first. Indeed, Quantum Messenger is probably the best book to read first. So, I don’t plan to write a fifth book. I did consider writing Kyle and Alice’s story post-Anomaly but I don’t feel it’s necessary because the results of their work can be seen in Quantum Messenger.
I’m working on a new book now, which is taking a bit of time because it’s a challenge, technically. I want to get it right but it’s had to involve more planning and quite a bit of research. I’m looking forward to the challenge of it. The Soul Prophecies has been my life for five years and it’s difficult to leave it alone when it’s become embedded into your own soul.
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Quantum Messenger is the fourth novel in Caitlin Lynagh’s young adult science fiction Soul Prophecies series. In the year 2060, humanity has completely integrated artificial intelligence into everyday life. Robots are normalized in every household, workplace, and public setting. Each dedicated to the simple task of serving the human race. Apollo is a powerful new AI model designed to perform a myriad of tasks, but there is also something different about him, something his creators never planned or expected; consciousness. When Apollo is sold to a wealthy British family, he begins to question their choices and behavior, but most importantly he begins to question his own existence. He soon befriends Finley, the youngest son, and discovers his interest in piano music and space. As he explores and develops feelings, he wonders about love but instead discovers anger, which leads him to have a violent episode that separated him from the family forever. As Apollo’s feelings increase, so does his consciousness, and the more he wonders about his purpose. His journey takes him from the family to a warehouse, to a US military base, and finally, to an elderly woman in Boston who will help him eventually get over his hatred of humans and see the beauty in life. And while all this is happening, Apollo finds himself under the watchful eye of an unknown being he can’t quite fathom.
Quantum Messenger is a captivating science fiction novel that combines a fast-paced storyline with the deeper existentialist questions that have undoubtedly troubled every human. Even with the deep introspection the story still manages to keep a light tone through the robot’s point of view. The main character, Apollo, is introduced as an AI robot with a small degree of consciousness, which he explores and develops throughout the story. Reminiscent of the movie Bicentennial Man in it’s superb ability to delve deep into ideas while remaining jaunty, and a bit of Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot in it’s ability to analyze humanity through technology. Apollo goes from questioning his feelings to developing a deep hatred against humanity and its injustices, but eventually also learns to view the beauty that life can provide, if you know where to look. Caitlin Lynagh uses this to explore both humanity and morality and I enjoyed how easy it was delivered. The book is narrated in the first person, which provides a front-row view of the robot’s perspective. Yet the author tells his story in a way that doesn’t get old by introducing the character’s most intimate thoughts, feelings, and ideas. The novel is well written, the story progresses smoothly, and the characters are intriguing yet believable. This is definitely of the best science fiction books I have read this year.
Pages: 294 | ASIN: B089QVXLR7
Lost Frequencies follows a group of people trying to survive a dystopian world while fighting an evil but pragmatic corporation. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?
Truthfully, I was inspired by what is happening to Earth and modern-day humans. Climate Change is one of the biggest threats to mankind, there’s still not enough action to solve the issue and opinions are too widely divided. Too many are apathetic to our climate crisis and think it doesn’t affect them or their lives so they don’t worry about it. People with the power to act seem more interested in money and the economy, and unfortunately many solutions to Climate Change will mean change, which affects the economy. People, in particular wealthy people, are the most resistant to change, especially if it’s likely to affect their income. Then there are the people who deny Climate Change altogether, despite the evidence and warnings from scientists around the globe. This creates a world where nothing significant gets done and change happens too slowly. Humans are walking a fine line, and it is easy to imagine Earth becoming like the dystopian world in Lost Frequencies in the near future.
There are many well developed and interesting characters in this book. Who was your favorite character to write for?
This is a tricky question to answer as I enjoyed writing all of the characters because they are all so different, but my favourite characters are Ehi, Ahrl and Varth. Varth was particularly interesting to write as he isn’t a typical ‘bad’ character. He is tormented by grief and guilt and with most of his decisions he has conflicting emotions.
I appreciate the depth with which this story is told. What are some sources of inspiration that guided you while writing?
I was inspired by a collection of ideas that I came up with and let flow. I’m not sure where all of my ideas came from but many have real-life parallels.
One idea came from a series of questions; ‘What would extra-terrestrial life look like?’, ‘Why haven’t we found any extra-terrestrial life like us?’ and ‘If Earth is a basic blueprint for the evolution of life, would life on other planets evolve in the same way?’ These questions led me to imagine Iyeeka and its inhabitants. Conscious species which look very much like humans, with slight differences, and a different history.
I also thought about how human history would have been much different if we weren’t a violent species. What if instead of killing each other, communities helped each other instead? What would that world look like today?
Other ideas came from Climate Change, human destruction, and how unpredictable nature can be. As terrifying as it may be, all it would take to wipe out humanity would be a series of catastrophic events. So I thought about the survival of the human race in the long term. We can’t live on Earth forever as one day our planet will die. This means our only hope for survival is if we inhabit space and master space travel. This has always intrigued me and I keep an eye out for any science related news.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have just finished working on my latest novel, Quantum Messenger. It is the last novel to be released in The Soul Prophecies Series. Hopefully it will be released later this year or early next year in 2021. Quantum Messenger follows the first sentient robot on Earth as he becomes aware of himself, the world and his feelings and develops a soul. I’m looking forward to hearing about people’s thoughts and reactions. You can read the books in The Soul Prophecies Series in whichever order you like, as they have an endless loop. Indeed, they probably work best in reverse release order.
You are being watched. All your pathways have already been seen.
During a salvage hunt in the desolate wastelands of Planet Iyeeka, a strange naked woman is discovered inside a metal machine. No one has lived in the area for decades.
Ten wise Iyeekens are drawn to the woman through their dreams and eventually follow her, along with the three who found her, through their war-torn land in search of truth. They believe she is the key to saving their dying planet. She has knowledge even she doesn’t understand. Yet.
Who are these aliens she so vividly remembers? What is the significance of this planet Earth and its inhabitants? And why is her knowledge essential in saving their world?
Lost Frequencies: The Soul Prophecies by Caitlin Lynagh is a book that gives you all the benefits of escapism while maintaining a terrifying sense of reality throughout.
It is about a group of people in a dystopian world, trying to survive against all odds. Their world is ravaged by the carelessness of their ancestors. They have to struggle for their basic necessities, all the while fighting back an evil but pragmatic corporation.
The novel switches back and forth from the past, and between dream sequences filled with strange prophecies. I found this a little disorienting. But it provided great contrast and detail to their fictional world. It was also quite fast paced, so it took me a while to get a hang of all the things taking place, especially the dream sequences.
The world itself was reminiscent of The Hunger Games, albeit more exotic and more relevant. Especially considering how their world came to be from climate change and being indifferent to the state of the planet.
Some of the secondary characters were totally adorable- particularly Ehi and Zerren. I felt immediately connected to them and was rooting for them throughout. Apart from these few, however, there were a lot of other story lines of characters I did not particularly care about. They had interesting side plots, but I wish the focus had remained more on the main few.
The objects in this world were also incredibly fascinating- like Lif, a biological metal that can be manipulated with thoughts. The differences between the humans and Iyeekans were very interesting and creative.
If pressed, I would probably describe this book as a science fiction adventure, but that would almost be unfair. This is because the book almost transcends genre. Even the planet’s reality seems not so distant from ours. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a scary yet hopeful science fiction experience.
Pages: 310 | ASIN: B07T943KDL