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Lifeform Three by [Morris, Roz]
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Lifeform Three Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 266 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

*** SHORTLISTED for the People's Book Prize. LONGLISTED for the World Fantasy Award ***

'Marvellous, powerful, beautiful' Kij Johnson, specialist in speculative fiction, multi-times winner of the Hugo and Nebula Award

'Beautifully written; meaningful; top-drawer storytelling in the tradition of Atwood and Bradbury' League of Extraordinary Authors

Misty woods; abandoned towns; secrets in the landscape; a forbidden life by night; the scent of bygone days; a past that lies below the surface; and a door in a dream that seems to hold the answers.

Paftoo is a 'bod'; made to serve. He is a groundsman on the last remaining countryside estate, once known as Harkaway Hall -- now a theme park. Paftoo holds scattered memories of the old days, but they are regularly deleted to keep him productive.

When he starts to have dreams of the Lost Lands' past and his cherished connection with Lifeform Three, Paftoo is propelled into a nocturnal battle to reclaim his memories, his former companions and his soul.

Includes an appendix of suggested questions for reading groups.

'An extraordinary novel in the tradition of the great old school literary sci-fi' - NYT bestselling author Joni Rodgers

About the author
Roz Morris's fiction has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide, although you won't have seen her name on the covers as she ghostwrote for high-profile authors. She is now writing acclaimed fiction under her own name. She is a writer, journalist, fiction editor and the author of the Nail Your Novel series for writers. Her first novel as herself was My Memories of a Future Life. She teaches creative writing masterclasses for The Guardian newspaper in London.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3442 KB
  • Print Length: 266 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #709,695 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition
This reviewer was given an advance reader copy by the author.
"Between the roofs and roads, there was no room for countryside."
There is no room for freedom either in the highly-ordered existence of a redo bod in the Lost Lands of Harkaway Hall. Like the Fantoccini Electrical Grandmother in Ray Bradbury's beguiling story, the bod "is built with loving precision to give the incredible precision of love" to the Intrepid Guests (visitors) in the Lost Lands, an estate of trees, streams, lakes and meadows dotted with a museum, galleries and cafes. This hi-tech theme park is marooned in a smog-shrouded, urbanised world where rising sea levels have shrivelled the countryside to commercial theme parks and the Marches, a wilderness of drowned dwellings and mudflats where no one ventures.
When a catastrophic lightning strike renders him memoryless, Paftoo is condemned to spend his days as one of a team of six bods operating poovers (a combination of poo and hoover) and redoing fields by clearing them of the dung left by Lifeform 4s (cows) and Lifeform 3s (horses). Unlike the others, after redoing fields, removing nature's traces and entertaining visitors with song and dance designed to advertise features of the Lost Lands and sell products gleaned from data on visitors' Pebble phones, Paftoo cannot switch off. While Pafseven, Pafnine and the other bods remain inert, Paftoo hears the rush of horses and gallops on horseback through a wood. Until stopped by an old door in the ground. His dreams continue to torment him until, after consulting with Tickets, a deformed bod who guards the entrance to the Lost Lands, he learns of a vanished world where the former inhabitants of Harkaway Hall danced, hunted and lived in manorial splendour.
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Format: Kindle Edition
In high school we learned a type of ink wash painting called sumi-e. The goal was to create a picture in as few brushstrokes as possible. Once a line of ink was laid down, that was it; we were not allowed to paint over that line twice.

This memory came to mind while reading Roz Morris' brilliant new novel, Lifeform Three, the literary equivalent of sumi-e. In an unspecified future where mankind, surprise, surprise, has gone and bollixed it up, stands a nightmarish theme park. Once a stately home, it's now maintained by machines and robots called `bods','made to serve' and do the scut work.

Everything is geared towards the punters, ironically named Intrepid Guests, who bumble about, eating and generating rubbish, stitched to their Pebbles, defined by their monosyllablic clouds, bombarded by insidious singing and advertising. (Frighteningly, not all that futuristic.) But things are about to change when bod Paftoo meets Lifeform Three...

Morris takes familiar themes - as readers we all have our favourites and find ourselves continually drawn to them - and spins them into a highly original work. Tropes are shattered, melted down, and re-fashioned. Powerful messages and questions emerge without the reader being repeatedly coshed or made to feel guilty.

Will what makes us human survive mechanisation and supertechnoeficiency? What does make us human, anyway? And will life, like Kahlil Gibran's children, always long for itself?

Honestly? I don't know about life, but I'm jealous of the way Morris can, in so few words, illuminate a scene or a character, sometimes heartbreakingly so, as with an excluded character metaphorically wiped away in a brave new world where, sadly, the old hierarchies continue.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.8 out of 5 stars 28 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spmething New Has This Way Come 24 August 2014
By Mary A. Madsen - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There's a story of Kurt Vonnegut barging into a scifi conference room and yelling, "You're the only son's of bitches telling the truth. I love you!" Roz Morris is the future life of one of those writers in that conference room. A truth we work very hard to ignore is told in this book that leaves us painfully awake and asking ourselves where are we headed with this world we've created. It is dystopian, to be sure, but in an utterly unique way with the same calm stealth with which we approach this new world we're creating but too busy to imagine where it's leading. Roz Morris imagines it for us.

Unlike the current trend in dystopian novels, there is no human blood or gore here, no guns blazing or a hero of super-human intellect and physical strength to save the day. The story begins long after any catastrophic event (I won't spoil anything by saying what it might have been) has occurred and we've adapted to the new world, just as we've adapted to this new world we live in of steel and style and technology and distaste for anything messy or gooey. Paftoo, our protagonist is a hero of humanity but is not human. Or is he? What does it mean to be human? All the other bods (robots) in this book are named Paf+a spelled-out number, but not the protagonist. His name equates to "Pafalso." There is a spirit and soul to this bloodless creation I can connect with. Perhaps you can, too, as Paftoo has. All of us on this journey of life have had our hearts hit by lightening, and we're usually left damaged with unpleasant changes and years of therapy. But when a bot is hit by lightening in the area where a heart would be, it's that bolt of nature's fury that changes him towards human qualities that can neither be touched nor nailed down in any of the sciences currently scrambling to dissect the human condition. Most important is the question of whether or not the human condition exists outside of nature.

I found this book both disturbing and satisfying on a very personal level. Three years ago we moved away from city life to a remote rural area that has left me feeling as if my shoes are on the wrong feet. Each of my days begins with a hike through rugged terrain in the oldest mountain range in the world. I have to if I want exercise because we don't have gyms or chlorinated pools or yoga studios. Within six months of living and hiking these hills, I noticed something had returned I didn't know had disappeared until they surfaced again--dreams. One little bit of technology piled on top of a minor swell of ambition and busyness had taken away the dreams while I was too distracted to notice. In Lifeform Three, Paftoo breaks rank with his kind when he begins to dream. Do we awaken to the weave of our existence with the natural world around us through our dreams? We're in a pandemic of forgetfulness and clutter in our contemporary world. Have we forgotten who we are and become finance, commercialism, marketing and entertainment robots? Are we so tightly would in thought memes we become ideas rather than the ones who create ideas? What can be pulled out of us by a beast of burden, a powerful and powerfully frightened horse with a tiny name like Pea?

It should be obvious by now that this book raises many questions with no easy answers. The voice and tone of the writing get out of the way of those questions and is absolutely flawless in its prose and voice. This is a unique voice rising in the literary scene and gaining attention, but one that won't easily be copied. Rather than a story well told or an enjoyable book that is read, this is an experience. I thought I'd spend the weekend reading this book, but sat down at 10 a.m. Saturday morning and left it only to eat so the spell would not be broken. It's not a casual read. It may be a new definition of the literary novel, rather than a blend of genres. Time will tell, and until that time has passed, it stands alone as a bold book written by an author unafraid of taking risks, holding up a mirror to our faces as we read, and has a beautifully delicate touch with humor, and word choices that surprise without interrupting the elegant flow of the prose.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lifeform Three 1 February 2017
By jayden robyn - Published on
Verified Purchase
I didn't check this book out for a while, because science fiction generally isn't my thing, whether it's space opera or dystopia or anywhere in between. I don't always like literary fiction, as a whole, either. But I found Roz Morris's other book, My Memories of a Future Life, fascinating, and her writing was top-notch, so I decided to give this a go. And I am glad I did.

Lifeform Three, while not quite a dystopian book, is set in the future, and the only remaining countryside is preserved at Harkaway Hall, a theme park that is taken care of by bods. The entire story is written in third-person present tense, which can be really tricky to pull off, but Morris does it effortlessly. Morris's prose the entire book is effortless, always beautiful but always in service to the story she's telling.

And what a story it is. Simply, yet very profoundly, Morris brings up questions of belonging to a group, individual identity, our relationship to nature and animals, and how easily we destroy nature to suit our own desires. Everything is woven into the story so that it never becomes preachy or out of place. Paftoo is a likable protagonist, and I was rooting for him the whole way. The side characters all have their own quirks that separate them from the others (especially since each bod's name begins with 'Paf') and Morris also really knows her horses--not just the semantics of riding and training, but horses themselves. I would have read this sooner had I caught on that a lifeform three is a horse!

Best of all, Lifeform Three was perfectly clean. No language, no graphic content of any kind; I could easily recommend it to anyone. And I would recommend it. If you're looking for a thoughtful, unique, yet entertaining read, check out Lifeform Three.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories of a Past Life 4 February 2014
By Chris in CT - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I’m not a big fan of dystopian fiction, but I’m an admirer of author and blogger Roz Morris. When I received an Advance Review Copy of this book, I was willing to give it a chance. I’m glad I did.

“Lifeform Three” takes place in a future time at a theme park called The Lost Lands of Harkaway Hall. Picture a dystopian Disneyworld where “intrepid guests” ride around in pod cars taking pictures with their “pebbles” (smart phones) . The story is told through the eyes of Paftoo, a “redo bod” who works with a team of fellow bods to clean up animal dung, leaves and other debris from the park. The park is one of the few pristine tracts of land left in this future world, ravaged by environmental degradation that has laid waste to the seashore and other bucolic vistas.

The bods are programmed to perform menial tasks and they receive points for the amount of waste they can clear in a day. “Shovel the leaves; don’t think. Hum a tune. That’s the way to make it easier,” Morris writes, through the prism of Paftoo. “A bod’s life is redoing. Because all the time, the Lost Lands are being undone. By the lifeforms, the rain, the wind, the seasons that strip the trees in autumn and make them grow like nonsense in the spring. And by the Intrepid Guests, who drive where they shouldn’t, break the fences, spread litter and set fire to the barn.”

When the bods finish their daily work, they power off at night into a sleep mode, all except for Paftoo. In the opening scene, Paftoo is struck by lightning while trying to coax a huge horse into a lorry (truck) during a thunderstorm. At night, Paftoo dreams of riding horses and finding a lost door in the woods, but his memories are fragmented. While the other bods sleep, Paftoo roams the grounds and discovers a secret world. He tames one of the horses that roam the pasture at night in an effort to piece together his past.

He dares not disclose his nocturnal experiences with the other bods for fear of being “shared,” a process by which a bod’s mind is wiped clean of all past experiences. “A trouble shared is a trouble deleted,” is the oft-repeated phrase used to explain the benefits of sharing.

Morris raises questions about the issues of the day, from climate change to social media. The visitors to this theme park rarely exit their vehicles to enjoy the natural beauty; instead they snap pictures with their phones. The bods entertain the arriving visitors with dances and performances designed to sell products.

The author gives readers a glimpse of how the planet might look and feel in a future age when rampant consumerism ruins the environment and people don’t talk to each other and don’t care about their own memories or their planet’s storied past.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paftoo is the new love of my life! 19 January 2014
By ACFlory - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In Lifeform 3, author Roz Morris has created a masterpiece, and I don't say that lightly. The story is deceptively simple, as is the prose, all held in perfect balance to allow the characters to shine. And what characters!

Before I talk about Paftoo, and Pea, Tickets and Pafnine, however, I have to set the scene, just a little. Imagine our world some time in the future. It has become a world of back-to-back cities with podcars that drive themselves while their human occupants sleep. It is a world of rampant consumerism and jaded appetites. It is a world where animals, especially wild animals have become a tourist attraction.

In this world, animals are categorized according to the order in which they were domesticated - dogs are lifeform 1, cats are lifeform 2 and horses are lifeform 3. Was that a spoiler? Yes, but just a tiny one.

Now imagine a crumbling manor house set in acres of land, a tiny pocket of nature tucked away in a sea of concrete. This is Harkaway Hall, or what's left of it. Dubbed the 'Lost Lands', the estate has become a tourist destination, and is maintained by a small army of bods, humanoid robots with shaggy purple hair and Manga eyes.

Enter Paftoo. Paftoo is a bod, but he is not quite like the other bods. During the day he collects the poop dropped by the animals that roam the Lost Lands, but at night, while the other bods switch off, Paftoo dreams. He dreams of lifeform 3's galloping across the fields. He dreams of himself riding a lifeform 3.

That is the mystery underlying the story. How and why has this one bod become so different? And why would it dream of horses? Deeper still, though, is a darker theme about intelligence and self-awareness, aspirations and freedom. Paftoo is not human, yet he is not just a machine either, and in his journey we can see a reflection of ourselves. That is what makes this story so utterly wonderful.

For those interested in such things, Lifeform 3 is technically science fiction, but as far as I'm concerned it's science fiction literature.

Did some of you cringe? Did your eyes glaze over?

Please don't be put off by the 'L' word. Lifeform 3 is not arty farty. It doesn't use obscure vocabulary just for the sake of it. It doesn't bore you to tears with pages of flowery descriptions, and it does not go round in circles contemplating its own navel!

Lifeform 3 is science fiction literature because it tells the perfect story. Nothing is missing. Nothing is superfluous. Everything fits, and flows as if it could not possibly be any different. Yet despite that, it's not predictable.

As a writer who reads a hell of a lot, I often find myself re-writing sentences in my head as I read them, or mentally questioning some part of the plot or characterization. It goes with the territory. With Lifeform 3, however, there was not a single moment when I stopped to re-read a sentence or passage because it had jarred me out of the story. Didn't happen, not even once. That is the sign of a truly good story.

So... Would I recommend Lifeform 3 to you? You bet I would! Using my own, personal star rating system, Lifeform 3 gets 11/10, and joins a select list of novels that I think will still be wowing readers in a hundred years' time. That, by the way, is another thing it has in common with real literature - it lasts.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't stop reading. 14 May 2016
By Ann Stanley - Published on
Verified Purchase
I couldn't put this novel down. Roz Morris has created a wonderful story of lost memories, love between a horse and a robot, friendship and betrayal between robots, and slavery. There's mystery, laughter, and the threat of having one's mind wiped clean. Paftoo is an unusual hero, as a robot, who nevertheless seems fully human, and hints at a scary future for humans of mind warping and manipulation.
Roz Morris has a smooth style, easily swallowed. My only complaint was that I couldn't set this down until I'd read it cover to cover.