Entry updated 11 February 2020. Tagged: Author.
(1954- ) UK author whose loose but thematically cogent Calculated Life sequence, comprising A Calculated Life (2012; rev 2013) and The Enclave (2017 chap), depicts a complexly Dystopian Near Future Britain, where advances in Genetic Engineering have had believably mixed consequences: for in a world increasingly controlled by international corporations (see Economics), distinctions between ethically sound genetic enhancements and the moral abyss of outright Eugenics are difficult to maintain. The protagonist of the first tale – part human, part AI: a "simulant" essentially owned by the corporation that has "leased" her – finds her capacity to generate complex Predictions suddenly failing to produce results; the close of the tale finds her teetering at the edge of the fallen (ie unimproved) world beyond. The Enclave, which won the 2018 BSFA Award for best novella, focuses on the lives of organics in the surrounding wastelands; Bridge 108 (2020) traces the grotesque Fantastic Voyage of a young migrant in a long quest for his parents through the killing fields of the new England.
Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind (2015) is a complex meditation on art and Feminism, its three sections circling around the supposition that not only had Paolo Uccello (1397-1475) trained his daughter as a painter, but that Antonia Uccello (1456-1491) had created a masterpiece, hidden because of her sex for centuries (the third part of the tale is set in the Near Future). In Dreams Before the Start of Time (2017), which begins in a Near Future London, two close friends (and others) are forced to examine the challenges and potential liberations of a world in which human fertility has been scientized: essentially anyone can opt to bear a child, with a sexual partner or parthenogenetically. Transfigurations in parenting and in the nature of society are calmly traced through several generations. This novel won the Arthur C Clarke Award.
Charnock is an author who may initially seem overly level-headed but whose tales, as they progress, prove anything but soothing. [JC]
born Bolton, near Manchester, England: 8 June 1954
- A Calculated Life (England: for the author, 2012) [Calculated Life: pb/]
- A Calculated Life (Seattle, Washington: 47North, 2013) [with minor revs: Calculated Life: pb/theBookDesigners]
- The Enclave (Alconbury Weston, Cambridgeshire: NewCon Press, 2017) [novella: chap: Calculated Life: hb/Chris Moore]
- Bridge 108 (Seattle, Washington: 47North, 2020) [pb/]
- Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind (Seattle, Washington: 47North, 2015) [pb/M S Corley]
- Dreams Before the Start of Time (Seattle, Washington: 47North, 2017) [pb/Dave Drummond]
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