"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
Well… another PKD masterpiece! Ubik was amazing! This is the kind of novel that will never leave me, physically and mentally. I am still trying to fig...moreWell… another PKD masterpiece! Ubik was amazing! This is the kind of novel that will never leave me, physically and mentally. I am still trying to figure it out and that’s what I love about it! I have heard that Philip K. Dick has trouble concluding his novels, but I think he concluded Ubik perfectly. By not necessarily ending it, I have created five more chapters in my mind and they are changing constantly, in the same way my memories and dreams do. This is a book that you’ll want to highlight and flip the pages back and forth to study it and re-read it. I had a lot of fun with Ubik, while it horrifically chilled me and gave me pause to look and question the existence around me.(less)
All and all, they were all enjoyable short stories. I listened to these stories as I did some house cleaning. There were a few times that I had to rewind it a little bit and pay closer attention to what was going on, but in general I could just let it roll.(less)