A coalition of Earth’s animals launches an expedition to Mars and a plot to revive the nearly extinct human species in this debut philosophical novella.
In a wildly colorful futuristic society, humans are no longer in charge, and intelligent animals have come to the fore. The story opens as a motley crew of creatures prepares to embark on a space mission to colonize the neighboring red planet and save humans from extinction. Lazy Fellow, the animal group’s historian, begins the narrative by recounting the origins of the revolution of the “Animal Kingdom,” made possible by humans’ tendency to abuse and neglect his fellow creatures, as well as their profligate dependency on technology. The animals, by contrast, value moderation in all things, represented by their devotion to Aristotelian principles. As the forces of artificial intelligence, the Technox, invade humanity, turning most people into “BWSH” (“brainwashed soulless humans”), the animals seek a solution in space, under the leadership of their lion captain, Leon de Ponso, and his consort, Ginesse. Their stalwart crew of rabbits, kangaroos, walrus, dogs, insects, rodents, and two of the few remaining unaffected humans, each have special skills that aid their mission, along with individual personality quirks. Winsloe’s premise is intriguing and her text is dense and thought-provoking. However, a lot of universe-building is packed into a brief page count, and some ideas are so abbreviated that they become garbled. For example, Lazy Fellow’s explanation that “The extinction of human Organics was the result of systemic, granular personality profiling, due to excessive data acquisition and retention” will likely leave readers wishing for clarification that isn’t provided. Also, the story doesn’t sufficiently elucidate the “Mesotes” principles of Aristotle, which is mentioned frequently as the key element of intelligent animal thought. Readers who aren’t students of classical philosophy may find such references confusing.
A quixotic, overcrowded fable that investigates the contradictions between technology and humanity.