A sci-fi parable in which an artificial man searches for answers to some of life’s deepest mysteries.
Pinocchio, the protagonist of Bosze’s fiction debut, views himself as a kind of thinking automaton, a “contraption” with an “amazing onboard computer”—his brain, which comes to conceive of his own existence and then to ask a series of elemental questions about that existence. What’s the point of life? Why are living things here? What’s the nature of reality? What are the limits of identity? Bosze takes his naïve, questing character through a series of encounters with various figures who expound on one aspect of life or another. When, for example, Pinocchio meets Artificial Man, who calmly says he was intelligently assembled, Pinocchio tells him that, in his own case, current scientific ideas stipulate that the opposite is true: “[W]e were just a freaky combination of chemicals in a pool of water that got zapped by lightning,” Pinocchio says, “and voila, four billion years later, here we are, complex biological machines.” (Artificial Man doesn’t seem convinced, and readers clearly aren’t meant to be, either.) A character from the future, named simply 4000 AD, reminds Pinocchio that “it is a common mistake to assume that comprehending some of the ‘magic’ is akin to erasing its mystery. But we found that the more our knowledge grew, the deeper grew the mystery.” Pinocchio moves from one such conversation to another through the effects of something called a Life Simulator, and that all-encompassing reality-replicator brings Pinocchio to many such alternate realities, including a New Earth, where he’s toured around a radically altered world. Bosze skillfully uses all these encounters to frame a number of metaphysical conversations and arrive at some metaphysical answers. “Let’s face it,” he writes, “there is no room for false modesty here—we humans (as far as we know) are the conscious universe. As pathetic as we are, there is no one with anywhere near the ability to challenge our ‘lofty position.’ ” The age-old religious and philosophical questions Bosze rehearses in this way are endlessly fascinating, and his fictional gambit makes his approach palatable to readers at most points on the faith spectrum.
A fast-paced, engaging look at the natures of faith and science.