"She shook her head, her eyes fixed, staring at the nightmare scene before them. Who had done this? Why? It was as if the people had converged here to destroy this place that had failed them in the end so completely."
The scene that is described here was indeed nightmarish, as was a large portion of this story. Although there were a lot of dark scenes throughout, it did have some bright and uplifting scenes to redeem its eerie disposition. I was on a roller coaster of emotions while reading this - which is rare for me, not many stories can evoke such an array of feelings, as this did. The many different scenarios depicted page-after-page, were filled with fantastical ideas that held a deep-down plausible truth.
I have read many books about robotics being used in extending the lives of individuals or prolonging the existence of mankind. However, in this 1977 Hugo and Locus Award winning novel by Kate Wilhelm, she shows humans living beyond their original due date, by way of cloning. Even though much has progressed in the science of cloning in the past 30 years, the ethical questions are still the same and the controversies may never change. I assumed the heated controversies on this topic started in the 90's, with the birth of Dolly, the cloned sheep, but actually it appears to have been a heavy subject way before that. These ethical issues were concerns in the 70's, made apparent by Kate's writings, and perhaps even began far sooner than we know.
Whether or not you have a solid opinion on the cloning of humans, reading this book, will broaden your ideas on man's finite existence on earth, for it has mine.
UPDATE: I recently learned where Kate Wilhelm got the title of her novel. It was from a quotation of William Shakespeare's Sonnet 73.
That time of year thou mayst in me behold, When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou seest the twilight of such day, As after sunset fadeth in the west, Which by and by black night doth take away, Death's second self, that seals up all in rest. In me thou seest the glowing of such fire, That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, As the death-bed whereon it must expire, Consumed with that which it was nourished by. This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well, which thou must leave ere long. –William Shakespeare
"I put the shotgun in an Adidas bag and padded it out with four pairs of tennis socks, not my style at all, but that was what I was aiming for: If they think you're crude, go technical; if they think you're technical, go crude. I'm a very technical boy. So I decided to get as crude as possible. These days, though, you have to be pretty technical before you can even aspire to crudeness. I'd had to turn both those twelve-gauge shells from brass stock, on the lathe, and then load then myself; I'd had to dig up an old microfiche with instructions for hand-loading cartridges; I'd had to build a lever-action press to seat the primers―all very tricky. But I knew they'd work."
This is 1981 William Gibson cyberpunk! This short story even predates his Sprawl trilogy of novels and it has so much of what is to come of his writing's just packed into a single short story, called "Johnny Mnemonic". It has tech—action and Johnny; who just so happen to be junkies (in the technical scene) and just as crazy or crazier as he his. Johnny eventually has to go to his friend Jones who is a very intelligent retired "navy dolphin" (yeah, an-actual dolphin), that is called a "SQUID". Jones is hooked on some hardcore drugs; which he developed more than just a habit for during a war that he was used in while he was in the navy. This story also introduces the character Molly, who plays a prominent role in Gibson's Sprawl trilogy of novels. Johnny Mnemonic the protagonist is a data trafficker. He has had cybernetic surgery to have a data storage system implanted in his head and allows him to store digital data too sensitive to risk transmission on computer networks. This is an amazing idea especially knowing that it was written in 1981, before they even had these micro memory chips!
"With Jones to help me figure things out, I'm getting to be the most technical boy in town."
This is the fist time I have read anything by William Gibson and I have to say since I have already purchased each book in the Sprawl Trilogy I am rea...more This is the fist time I have read anything by William Gibson and I have to say since I have already purchased each book in the Sprawl Trilogy I am really excited to read some more by him, especially Neuromancer; being next on the William Gibson list!
"Source Code" ***** "Johnny Mnemonic" ***** "The Gernsback Continuum" ***** "Fragments of a Hologram Rose" *** "The Belonging Kind," with John Shirley ***** "Hinterlands" **** "Red Star, Winter Orbit," with Bruce Sterling ***** "New Rose Hotel" ***** "The Winter Market" *** "Dogfight," with Michael Swanwick ***** "Burning Chrome" *****
Johnny Mnemonic being by my favorite of the lot.(less)
Another fantastic book by Philip K. Dick, but then again he is my favorite author so I might be a little biased. This book however didn't have as much...more Another fantastic book by Philip K. Dick, but then again he is my favorite author so I might be a little biased. This book however didn't have as much of the "mind-blowing" aspects to it as some of his other books. None the less it was a great read. It still had a somewhat "Dickian" storyline, however, just not that wow factor I was talking about. If it had a little more of that than the book would have been easily a 5 star book, but instead I am going with 4. Another reason is because I wish it were a little bit longer, but like I always say, that is more of a compliment to the book then anything else. (less)