In ‘The Mad Scientist’s Daughter’ we see that the author, Cassandra Rose Clarke, twists a slew of extremely interesting ideas together. It is set in the near future as a cataclysmic event has shaken the fabric of our world killing off quite a bit of the population. Humanity was able to survive. In order to continue on though we turned our scientific efforts into advancing robotics to help sustain a work force in order to keep up with the majority of the live styles we have come accustomed to.
Time has passed since this cataclysm and humanity, while still not back to overpopulating the planet, is able to do things for itself once again. With this having happened there have come forward many questions on how sentiment the robots we have created truly are now? Do they deserve rights? Should they continue being made as they are?
While the initial robots were clearly machines the most recent ones, including the main one that is in this novel, are very human like in nature. So human like that it would appear they are even capable of feeling love.
The story opens and we follow the main character, Cat, as her father (We’ll just go and say that he falls in the category of The Mad Scientist) has just acquired one of the new realistic robots to be both his lab assistant and her new tutor. The robot’s name is Finn. As she is introduced to the robot at such a young age she finds herself unable to feel that there is a difference between man and machine as time goes on.
The book does not move slow and we see it jump forward rather quickly through different periods of her life and this is both a positive and a negative for the novel. It’s a positive as we get to see the characters progress but a negative as we never really get to know the lead female or more details on how their society truly is and what caused the great catastrophe.
Unlike her parents, Cat is an artist. They never can truly relate to one another and as she grows into going to school she can’t relate to her friends either. She truly feels the outcast to all peers aside from Finn. The problem is even she realizes that her connection to the robot wouldn’t be considered normal by the masses so eventually ends up falling into a relationship and marriage.
After being married and no longer at her home Finn ends up being sold to work elsewhere. With Finn gone Cat starts pushing for a movement to give robots equal rights to humans. She is completely compelled to change how society thinks of robots as her true feelings for him start bubbling up in the back of her mind. This push ends the strained marriage she had landed herself in. She moves back home and reaches out to Finn to try to have him once more in her life.
I’m truly torn on this novel. There are so many great pieces of writing in it that work beautifully together I want nothing more than to fully endorse it. The problem though lies in all of the information on how humanity is standing, how it got to where it is, and what actually happens to robot rights. I felt a lot of this information was teased in and not explained.
All in all it is a fantastically written science fiction novel about love and society. While I did feel a lot of the information we were teased on should have been delivered, at the very least on how the world ends up viewing the place of robots in society, I would still recommend this one.