A Calculated Life

Narrated by: Susan Duerden
Length: 6 hrs and 50 mins
3.4 out of 5 stars (262 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Big business is booming and state institutions are thriving thanks to advances in genetic engineering, which have produced a compliant population free from addictions. Violent crime is now a rarity. Mayhew McCline, a major corporation that analyzes global trends, has hired a genius: Jayna.

A brilliant mathematical modeler, she has the ability to produce accurate predictions that are both good for the world and good for the bottom line. Her latest coup: finding a link between northeasterly winds and violent crime. When a string of events contradicts her forecasts - including a multiple homicide on the wrong day - Jayna suspects she needs more data and better intuition. She needs to understand what it means to be "normal," so she disrupts her strict daily routine and, unknowingly, sets herself on a path that leads to new encounters, new experiences, and - perhaps most dangerous - new emotions.

©2013 Anne Charnock (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about A Calculated Life

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very nice book

What made the experience of listening to A Calculated Life the most enjoyable?

The mind of the heroine of the story is quite fascinating...genetically developed to have a very logical and mathematically-inclined mind, she also possesses an excess of curiosity and burgeoning emotions that will later get her in trouble. Watching her develop was very interesting. The narrator was perfect for the character.

What other book might you compare A Calculated Life to and why?

It may be because I am influenced by what I am reading now, but A Lady of Devices has a theme of a young woman out of tune with her culture and trying to break free.

Any additional comments?

The pace of the book is good for listening to. Sometimes I find books that are enjoyable reads too slow to enjoy listening to and land up listening at 1.5 or double speed to long drawn out parts.I gave the story only 4 stars because I usually save five stars for very intense and heavy reading (when it deserves it).

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A nice surprise

I went into this book very suspicious of the concept and came out very impressed. The narration is spot on. The story is believable and interesting. The characters are well crafted. Highly recommended

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Deserves more stars

This was a very different book, and the narrator captured the characters very well. I liked learning about how Jayna became more than just a simulant automaton and started to develop a sense of self and interest in the world around her instead of just doing the job she was created for. There are "born" humans and simulants and the narrator does a nice job of keeping a flatter affect for the simulants vs. the more active voices of the born humans.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great concept, well executed

I feel sorry for those who don't think they enjoy science fiction so therefore won't give this book a try. Like all good science fiction, it is ultimately about the human condition, about ourselves. It's a super concept and was delivered very well. I'll keep an eye out for future books by this author.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enter a different kind of mind....

What made the experience of listening to A Calculated Life the most enjoyable?

The author's conveyance of the mind of a created human, with no history and limited emotional range, but enhanced reasoning abilities was utterly convincing.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Not really a "page-turner" in the sense of edge-of-your-seat suspense. If you appreciate exploring the future world of humans, bionics and humans bred with certain traits - a world that every day seems more possible, and entering the mind of a person who's thoughts are unlike any heroine's you've ever read, you'll keep reading.

What about Susan Duerden’s performance did you like?

Ah...she was the perfect voice for Jayna.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Can we create a better "human" - and if we could, would we want to?

Any additional comments?

The ending is worth reading. Just when you think it might all tie up too nicely...well, not quite. But still a very satisfying conclusion.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

tight, well constructed story

If you could sum up A Calculated Life in three words, what would they be?

Very well done. But I can't leave it there. It was also a well built story. You thought something was different from the first, it grew to understanding, developed into a surprisingly tense climax and ended with some satisfaction of sorts.

What did you like best about this story?

Futuristic realism. Could it happen? Yes, indeed I'm afraid it could.

What about Susan Duerden’s performance did you like?

What I thought at first was a sort of robotic-like quality to her voice turned out to be quite fitting for the story. Not sure if it was meant to be that way, but it worked well nevertheless

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The ending was unexpected until you read the epilogues. In the end I was smiling.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting

What made the experience of listening to A Calculated Life the most enjoyable?

This was a good read and was a bit surprising.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The author's knowledge and description of statistical analysis and processes was amazing. I was impressed.

What about Susan Duerden’s performance did you like?

Good reader. Fit the story and characters.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No extreme reaction.

Any additional comments?

I would read a sequel

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Confusion leading to Unsatisfaction

Confusion, leading to hope then to unsatisfaction (I know it’s not a word, but it should be in the case of this book). I wasn’t dissatisfied, I was unsatisfied. I liked the premise and I wanted to like the book but there were several things that got in my way.
First, it was really confusing in the beginning. I thought at first I had started with part 2, but realized there was only one part to the book.
Secondly, the narrator’s British accent made it really difficult for me to understand what she was saying. I eventually did work through that and came to like her narration by the end of the book.
My third frustration was the ending. I’m not going to spoil it, actually you can’t spoil something that didn’t really happened anyway. I’ve never been a big fan of books and movies that sort of leave it up to the reader to come up with their own ending. Why would an author invest all that time to develop the characters and leave their fate up to a reader. Thus, the unsatisfaction.
All in all, this book wasn’t worth the considerable effort I put in to listening to it. There is the seed of a great story here, but unfortunately that seed never sprouted and took root.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Quality fiction

this was an interesting story with a likeable main character. the narrator fit the story well but I found her voice lulling at times

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Could not continue listening to this book.

What disappointed you about A Calculated Life?

I just could not get the jets of this book. I guess I did not read the reviews close enough. Waste of Points or $$

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Just
  • Just
  • 02-06-20

Interesting story let down by narrator

I don't like giving negative reviews yet here I have little choice. The story is interesting, the writing is very good, but the narration by Susan Duerden is awful. She reads in a very unemotional monotone and it is easy to become lost. She is good at the dialogue, breathing life to the characters, though for the prose she is just awful. I can't say much about the story as it just did not register! I think I'll have to read it to find out!

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  • a white
  • 10-20-16

Terrible narration!

Susan Duerdens voice completely ruined this book for me- she does not read properly, it's as though she is reading deliberately slowly or in a sing song manner. Grated on my nerves and did not get beyon