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The Birth of a Soul

Caitlin Lynagh Author Interview
Caitlin Lynagh Author Interview

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 (The Soul Prophecies Book 4) by [Caitlin Lynagh]
If Artificial Intelligence developed a soul, what would it do? Where would it go?
And after life, could it help the dead guide the living?
Apollo is the first of its kind – an AI Assistant who, along with millions of other robots, will help transform workplaces and households. Over a few short years, Apollo learns the wonders and cruelties of mankind. He rewrites his internal programming so that his responses and personal thoughts can be independent. He befriends, then betrays a child and has to learn about love in its purest sense. Apollo cultivates passions, pride, anger, sadness and ultimately forgiveness, all under the watchful eye of a being he can’t quite fathom out.
Is it something beyond his very being, or could it be his own conscience?

Quantum Messenger

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

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