tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE's Reviews > Brain Child

Brain Child by George Turner
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Nov 02, 11

bookshelves: sf
Read in November, 2011

review of
George Turner's Brain Child
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - November 2, 2011

I'm always looking for SF writers that I'm not familiar w/ who might be producing work outside of the series-w/-hero formula that many SF writers resort to, presumably for financial reasons. This one seemed promising - esp given that I'm also usually interested in titles that reference brains. &, indeed, I quite liked it - even though I only gave it a 3 star rating.

It took me awhile to realize that Turner's an Australian writer but his use of the words "gaol" & "ratbag" (a personal favorite) were dead giveaways - as was mention of previous parts of the bk having appeared in the Strange Attractors anthology edited by Australian Damien Broderick (you can see an interview w/ him conducted by myself & Ghanesh here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhiGt9...).

Brain Child's a coming-of-age story of sorts - one that's potentially lurid enuf to appeal to 'reality' tv talk show couch potatoes but rendered far, FAR more interesting by its basic premise:

The protagonist grows up in an orphanage & as he 'comes of age' is informed that he's the secret child of one of a group of genetically engineered people. Once this is revealed to him he becomes ensnared in a plethora of manipulative schemes all geared around uncovering a hidden history & potential fruits thereof.

Turner's telling of the story is fairly straightforward as far as writing goes. I've read that he was a "late-bloomer" as an SF writer - having not started writing SF until he was in his 60s. As such, Brain Child is the work of a 'mature' writer - he wd've been around 75 when it was published. In this case, I don't think the 'maturity' contributed any particular writing skill - instead there's a sortof 'world-weariness' that seems to be a main subtext here. The bk explores various types of corruption & naivité that I think are reasonably accurately presented here.

All in all, Brain Child is of the ilk of SF that I often seek out: critical observations of the present tense amplified thru an interesting possible future.
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