A STAND-IN FOR DYING by Rick Moskovitz

A STAND-IN FOR DYING

From the "Brink of Life Trilogy" series, volume 1
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A man agrees to sell his body—literally—in exchange for a better life in this science fiction novel from Moskovitz (The Methuselarity Transformation, 2014, etc.), the first in a trilogy.

In 2041, Marcus Takana is approached by a woman named Terra, who makes an offer. A wealthy benefactor will provide for him for the rest of his life, giving him the money and access he needs to achieve his potential. However, when that benefactor’s body reaches the end of its mortal life, he and Marcus will switch bodies—resulting in Marcus’ immediate death. The process is known as Ambrosia Conversion. “So you're the devil and you've come to buy my soul?” he asks Terra. She responds: “Not your soul, Mr. Takana. You can keep that. It’s no use to us at all. It’s your body we want. And we’re prepared to pay you handsomely for it.” Marcus, who has nothing else in his life save his immaculate physique, agrees. The future inhabitant of Marcus’ body is Raymond “Ray” Mettler, who rose to celebrity with an invention that seemed as though it would save the environment—and who became a pariah when it began to destroy it instead. Marcus’ new life soon becomes an amazing success story involving love, children, and influence, so much so that he wonders: Should he really be expected to give all this up? In Marcus and Ray, Moskovitz has constructed an ingenious scenario probing the ethics of technology, class, and identity. His prose blends the technical and the emotional to create moments of unexpected beauty: “Terra airlifted him by drone to the edge of the city by the waterfront. It was still dark when she disappeared back into the sky. Marcus could hear water lapping against the seawall and a cacophony of barking sounds. ‘Seals.’ ” The author’s commitment to deeply developing his characters—as well hitting them with more than a few twists and turns—elevates what could have been merely an interesting thought experiment into a compelling novel with some emotional heft. The reader looks forward to additional fables of the high-tech future in the following volumes.

An imaginative and soundly executed SF morality tale.

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-73417-890-6
Page count: 333pp
Publisher: Fluke Tale Productions
Program: Kirkus Indie
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