Insightful dystopian tale with dynamic characters and a surfeit of surprises.


From the Gaia Origin series , Vol. 1

A scientist in the late 21st century awakens her cryogenically frozen grandfather for his expertise—an illegal act that puts global authorities on her trail—in this sci-fi debut.

A few years after losing his wife in a plane crash, terminally ill Dr. Evan Feldman hopes he can return from the dead someday. This is a possibility, as his company, Telogene Life Sciences, has secretly developed cryogenic suspension technology. Fifty years after Evan’s death, in 2075, his granddaughter, Dr. Aubrey Harris, is there at his restoration. But there are a few snags. For one, damage to a storage facility resulted in loss of genetic material, so Evan’s “engramic archive”—essentially his digitized memories, thoughts, and feelings—is in another body. More significantly, as the Human Dignity and Decency Act passed anti-cloning legislation two decades earlier, Aubrey and Telogene are breaking the law. While Aubrey is ensnared by the authoritarian Global Federation of Nations, her colleagues Dr. Chen Li Hao and Yin Li evade GFN’s jurisdiction by taking Evan to Luna (aka, the moon) and later Mars. The restored Evan can assist in overcoming a lethal genetic mutation among humans, but the real reason he’s awake involves abundant secrets and may leave him questioning the repercussions of his extended life. Though McWhorter’s novel thrives on mystery and unveiling twist after twist as the story progresses, it also boasts sci-fi trademarks. For example, Earth has been ravaged by worldwide drought and famine, and there’s plenty of chic tech, such as minidrones linked to optical implants. Furthermore, the plot shrewdly tackles the oft-posed question about humans (Do they have souls?), highlighted by Chen’s convincing argument that people are defined by their energy, not their physical forms. The author establishes a steady tempo (intermittently inserting bits of backstory rather than revealing it all at once) and provides most characters with personalities, including the GFN police, or Peacekeepers, pursuing Evan and the others. Despite some finality by the end, there’s a clear setup for a sequel.

Insightful dystopian tale with dynamic characters and a surfeit of surprises.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-983204-90-6

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2018

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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