The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley: Is Artificial Intelligence the child of 18th century clockwork?
Sean Lusk is a Scottish award-winning author, winner of the 2015 Manchester Fiction Prize and the 2017 Fish Short Story Prize for Dead Souls, inspired by a visit to Gogol’s house in Moscow. He has worked as a gardener, speechwriter, diplomatic official, and policy advisor to the UK government and lived in England, Pakistan, Egypt, South Africa, and Greece. The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley ( Doubleday, 2022 ) is his debut novel. Raised amongst the cogs and springs of his father’s workshop, Zachary Cloudesley grows up surrounded by strange and enchanting clockwork automata. The plot plunges the reader into mid-eighteenth-century London, Europe and the glitteringly exotic climes of Ottoman-era Constantinople. Lusk’s imaginative journey makes us think of Swiss watchmaking geniuses like Pierre Jaquet-Droz and his son. In his talk, Lusk will discuss the perils of getting lost in research when writing historical fiction as well as considering the role of 18th century automata as a bridge from the age of alchemy to the gothic horror of Frankenstein.
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