To Dream is the first book in the science fiction series Anatomy of a Humachine by Louis K. Lowy.
To let you enjoy the twists and turns after every chapter, I am going to keep this review short and spoiler free.
Two planets, two major factions (a corporation and a rebel group), a brilliant scientist and mother who copes with the loss of her son, and a human-machine (ergo humachine) are the major players in this book.
The planets are Earth and Truatta. The worldbuilding isn’t as elaborate as a fantasy epic. The date stamp and world name at the beginning of each chapter help understand the time gap and locale.
The multiple POV structure works well as we see the events unfurl through a mother/scientist, a corporate giant and heiress, a rebel leader, and a robot’s eyes.
Is the science exceptional? I can’t say so. J-1 isn’t the first AI or a cyborg. Neither are the drugs mentioned in the book novel. If you read a lot of sci-fi you will find a few familiarities. But science fiction is a popular genre. So you can’t expect something new from every book. The uniqueness is in the robot’s humanity due to something his creator has done. My stomach is going to burst holding on to that secret but I promised the author no spoilers. Damned things are promises.
However, To Dream explains the technology well especially the scenes where J-1 is injured or agitated emotionally. In this book, we see the human reaction to an extraordinary creation, how mankind fare in an advanced world when they can’t trust something they wanted to build for their own purpose.
The multifaceted emotions in the book work well for sci-fi. Especially, mothers pining for their lost children and a machine trying to understand its increasing human reactions is wonderfully portrayed by the author.
In fact, To Dream‘s greatest point would be the emotional turmoil. Louis puts every main character through difficult situations, be it lost love, betrayal, conniving friends in disguise.
The diversity of characters regarding race, sexual orientation, and culture are commendable. A lady of Indian origin plays a significant role in the book. It makes me happy, and no, I am not biased.
However, the above information or the author’s offer of a free copy in exchange for my review does not influence my opinion in any way.
The book cover is relevant to the story, but I couldn’t like it. Not sure why, because it is as the book says it is supposed to be. Just something about it bothered me. Don’t judge this book by its cover. The complexity of plot and development of characters make up for the cover and the summary which only talks about the main storyline. The subplots are well done and worth mentioning
The short chapters and straightforward language are perfectly suitable for the story.
To Dream is a car that drives smoothly through curves and bends, some predictable, some shockingly surprising, and takes us on a sensational adventure across two planets and two centuries showing how little human nature has changed even with the advancement of technology and science.
Some things like a mother’s love, greed and power lust, betrayal, and thirst for vengeance will stay with us forever. No super drug or revolutionary technology will ever free us from our emotions. Unless we become machines. Even then…
Louis K. Lowy’s first published novel, DIE LAUGHING (IFWG Publishing 2011), is a humorously dark science fiction adventure set in the 1950s. His 2015 book, PEDAL (Assent Publishing), tells the
story of a 49-yr-old music teacher who loses her job and struggles to reclaim her life through bicycle racing. Louis’ short stories have appeared in, among others, New Plains Review, The MacGuffin Magazine, the anthology Everything is Broken, and the Chaffey Review. A former firefighter, he is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship and an alumnus of Florida International University’s creative writing program.