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Human Sister [Kindle Edition]

Jim Bainbridge
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99
 
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Book Description

The ancient moralities and worldviews of established religions and the ruling majorities of Earth’s most powerful nation-states have been fighting a rearguard action against the encroachment of science on what they consider to be the core of the human self: its mind and consciousness. The United Nations Human Genome Protection Act has outlawed all genetic enhancements of human offspring, and the old contenders for world domination, the United States and China, have allied themselves to destroy all conscious nonhuman operating units in every outpost of civilization.

Set in such a world, Human Sister is the story of a prodigy, Sara Jensen, the granddaughter of Professor Severn Jensen, one of the world’s leading experts on conscious artificial intelligences, who, with his wife, raises and homeschools Sara on their beautiful California vineyard. Sara’s family also includes a secret fourth member—her illegal bioroid brother, Michael, whom she helps raise and who was made by her grandfather in part from Sara’s neurons and other cells and who is capable of accessing her thoughts and affections. Amidst a dangerous and darkening outer world, Sara discovers that she also must contend with the secrets and deceptions of those she loves—her grandfather, her boyfriend, and Michael—and she learns that even the best of intentions diligently pursued often have unintended, and tragic, consequences.


Jim Bainbridge’s novel, Human Sister, is a fast-paced, exciting, and beautifully-written account of an all-too-possible, near-future world in which the ethics and choices of humanity are put to the test. The novel is deceptively easy reading—I say “deceptive” because the plot is intense and the writing smooth—but underneath, the book is anchored by complex philosophical and ethical questions, complex characters, and the power of new and innovative ideas. Human Sister takes science fiction into literary territory that it too seldom visits: a place where well-developed characters emerge with sparkling originality through sensuous language and imagery. —Laura Pritchett, author and winner of the PEN USA Award, Milkweed National Fiction Prize, and WILLA Fiction Prize

Human Sister proves Jim Bainbridge a writer gifted with far-reaching intelligence, unbounded imagination, and a most caring and empathetic soul. Love and family reign here, threatened as they are by charging science, fluxing societal norms, and an intricate drama of wayward global politics. —Mark Wisniewski, winner of a Pushcart Prize and the Tobias Wolff Award

Jim Bainbridge has crafted a dark, chilling, future thriller that will keep you up late into the night—until the final searing page. Set in a time when androids battle humans for control, Human Sister is ultimately about the most human of themes: love, loyalty, family, betrayal, sacrifice; and it has as its heroine one of the most original, brave and fascinating young women to live in literature. If you’re looking for something you haven’t seen before, Human Sister is it. —Paulette Bates Alden, author of Feeding the Eagles and Crossing the Moon


Jim Bainbridge is a graduate of Harvard Law School and a National Science Foundation Fellowship recipient for graduate studies at UC Berkeley, from which he received a PhD Candidate Degree in mathematics. He has received numerous awards for his poetry and short stories, which have appeared in more than 40 literary journals in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan.


Editorial Reviews

Review

Jim Bainbridge's novel, Human Sister, is a fast-paced, exciting, and beautifully-written account of an all-too-possible, near-future world in which the ethics and choices of humanity are put to the test. The novel is deceptively easy reading I say deceptive because the plot is intense and the writing smooth but underneath, the book is anchored by complex philosophical and ethical questions, complex characters, and the power of new and innovative ideas. Human Sister takes science fiction into literary territory that it too seldom visits: a place where well-developed characters emerge with sparkling originality through sensuous language and imagery. --Laura Pritchett, author and winner of the PEN USA Award, the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, and the WILLA Fiction Prize

Human Sister proves Jim Bainbridge a writer gifted with far-reaching intelligence, unbounded imagination, and a most caring and empathetic soul. Love and family reign here, threatened as they are by charging science, fluxing societal norms, and an intricate drama of wayward global politics. --Mark Wisniewski, winner of a Pushcart Prize and the Tobias Wolff Award

Jim Bainbridge has crafted a dark, chilling, future thriller that will keep you up late into the night until the final searing page. Set in a time when androids battle humans for control, Human Sister is ultimately about the most human of themes: love, loyalty, family, betrayal, sacrifice; and it has as its heroine one of the most original, brave and fascinating young women to live in literature. If you're looking for something you haven t seen before, Human Sister is it. --Paulette Bates Alden, author of Feeding the Eagles and Crossing the Moon

About the Author

Jim Bainbridge is a graduate of Harvard Law School and a National Science Foundation Fellowship recipient for graduate studies at UC Berkeley, from which he received a PhD Candidate Degree in mathematics. He has received numerous awards for his poetry and short stories, which have appeared in more than 40 literary journals in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan.

Product Details

  • File Size: 528 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Silverthought Press (March 27, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007P9993I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,538 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for Science Fiction fans... February 3, 2011
By bbm701
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's been a long time since I've read a book that was difficult to put down - Human Sister kept me intrigued until the end. The book's plot is driven forward by the alternating narratives of two major characters, Sara Jensen and First Brother; the result is a complex level of character development that I often find lacking in books of this length. The new concepts and ideas introduced may be overwhelming to some readers; however, the fascinating interaction of characters and vivid (even poetic) imagery is what drove me to finish the book.

The story is set in the not too distant future where the advent of artificial intelligence is threatened by the religious and political zeitgeist of a time not too different from our own. The plot unfolds to reveal the shocking tale of a young girl struggling to protect those she loves--and ultimately the human race.

The reader is left in the dark until the very end, when the fate of humanity is finally revealed. It is a very philosophical and dark story of how the human herd can be led astray in the search of a better world. I have always been partial toward stories that take on catastrophic themes. Bainbridge's vision of the future is unsettling, but it was his story of Sara that made the book worthwhile. I am giving this book 5 stars, it's the best Speculative Fiction/SF story I've read in some time.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mary Shelley's paradigm-busting 1818 novel, Frankenstein, is subtitled "The New Prometheus," referencing the theme of man's constant striving to overreach himself and play god, which always seems to bring disastrous results. Prometheus was chained to a rock by Zeus to have his liver pecked out by an eagle. Victor Frankenstein's monster murdered his creator's young bride and brother. Then the monster kills the man who gave him life before lumbering off in self-loathing to the North Pole to destroy himself in flame.

The first known writing of Prometheus dates to about 800 B.C. It was made more famous by Aeschylus in his play, Prometheus Bound, circa 500 B.C. - and so onto Shelley's Frankenstein in the 19th century - and all the way up to today in many incarnations, including this marvelous novel, HUMAN SISTER.

In the ancient past, we needed the archetype of Prometheus to deal with the spiritual schism between ourselves and the transcendent gods. But since the dawn of rational, empirical, materialistic science, we still grasp at Prometheus, but now it's to help us deal with the relationship between man and science. It's painfully obvious that many of our brilliant advances has turned out to be agonizing double-edged swords. Think about nuclear power. It was supposed to usher in a new age of prosperity and unlimited energy - but it has also pushed us to the edge of total annihilation.

So this scenario is played out yet again by JIM BAINBRIDGE in Human Sister, except this time the Frankenstein monsters are androids - and also bioroids - robots that are getting ever closer in make-up to human beings.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sara has been raised by her family, and her grandfather in particular, to teach empathy to androids in order to complete their consciousness. The "brothers" that have been brought to being to that point, had been tutored by her to learn to feel, but had failed. When submitted to the Turing Test, the famous test of consciousness in artificial intelligence, the brothers failed. This time, grandfather has crafter an android using her cells and has found a way to link her brain to his in order to teach him empathy. Meanwhile, the humans find the androids to be a real threat, and under the banner of religion, seek to end their lives.

This is a very weird book. I hated the first twenty pages, and at times found myself talking to myself during later portions. For Grandfather in teaching empathy to androids, has himself showed precious little in training his granddaughter to be an uber-human. His use of a torture machine to teach her to withstand perception of pain and his clinical introduction of human sexuality both chilled me immensely. However I found myself captivated nonetheless. The characters persisted in shining off the page, even when I didnt want them to do so.

This book has tackled the big questions, and did a decent job of it. Its characters earnestly believe that it "was foolish to think humans were the pinnacle of the wonderful process of of evolution." Their mistake I think, was in considering themselves to be worthy templates for this stage. With the exception of Sara and her lover Elio, the humans seem to get more frosty as they attempt to humanize the machines. In the end, a creature born in our own image will be prone to the same imperfections that we in fact own.

This is a complex work, and I can only scratch the surface of the messages contained in the book. I would still call it weird in many places, but a good weird that is worth reading.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HUMAN SISTER is a philosophical masterpiece June 14, 2012
By Kiersi
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Let me just put it this way: Human Sister is challenging. It is challenging in its ideas, in its themes, and in its style. The payoff, however, is huge, and makes Bainbridge's long discussions of neuroscience and warfare and ethics worthwhile.

Sara is not the child her parents wanted. As some of the world's leading android scientists, they spend their time developing and understanding androids, not human children; Sara is instead raised and schooled by her grandfather, the man responsible for conceiving the first android. But life in her grandfather's bubble becomes lonely, so Sara's parents create an android named First Brother. But young Sara is disturbed by First Brother's emotional distance and insensitivity, and cannot bond with him.

Soon the androids come under political attack: the American religious right decries them as unnatural, as monstrosities, and they are criminalized. After Sara's parents and their android children flee to Canada, Sara's grandfather begins a new, top-secret project: Michael, an android who is part organic and part Sentiren, who will learn and grow from mental infancy to adulthood much as a human would. And Sara is tasked with raising him-of being his mother, his sister, and best friend, a monumental task to manage alongside her burgeoning attraction to her cousin Elio.

There are so many twists and curves and nuances in Bainbridge's Human Sister that it's quite impossible to capture it--even simply to capture it's premise--in a few sentences. Sara's narrative is framed as a reflection, a manuscript she is writing down while mysteriously sequestered in an underwater haven with Michael. This framework taints every forward step of Sara's life with questions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars It was a stretch, but I give it 2 stars!
I had to go back and read the end again, because, even though I finished it recently, I couldn't remember how it ended. That should tell you something....not a memorable read! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Cat Lover Lennie
5.0 out of 5 stars all in the Family
A well-written story with deep emotion that explores the consequences of creating sentient robots. Believable with a strong science component, yet full of feeling. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Sheri
1.0 out of 5 stars Tried to read twice, put me off reading twice
I am surprised by other readers reviewing it so highly. I tried to read this book twice. I love to read, and usually make a strong effort to complete every book I start with the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Victoria Frank
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
I thoroughly enjoyed the his book. I hope he does more in this vein. The characters were so well written that certain passages brought tears to my eyes. Read more
Published 9 months ago by K. Hoth
1.0 out of 5 stars zzzzzzzzzzzz..... is it over yet?
I sure liked the premise if the story, but like other readers found it too slow going to continue slogging through this book. I gave up at the 25% point. Read more
Published 10 months ago by k.trawick
3.0 out of 5 stars Reminiscent Of "Planet of the Apes"
While reading this novel, it felt like I was reading the aforementioned title, but with a twist.

For the most part, the story was well written, but it was a bit wordy at... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bibliophile
4.0 out of 5 stars A good Story
This was a good story but I hated the ending. Sara should have lived to a ripe old age with the kids that Micheal was growing to teach them that all humans were not bad.
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A good, sad read.
Human Sister centers on Sara Jensen, a teenage girl who has grown up with her Grandpa in a world were androids exist. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Brittany Johnson
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept but . . .
I just couldn't get into this book. I found it an interesting concept but just found the writing kind of boring.
Published 18 months ago by dragnjoyce
3.0 out of 5 stars unique plot but somewhat boring
I admire the thought that when into the plot, but there was something missing for me. There wasn't enough information early on for me to get into it. Read more
Published 18 months ago by curlieque
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More About the Author

Jim Bainbridge is a graduate of Harvard Law School and has been an active member of the California Bar for more than 30 years. He is a licensed California real estate broker, and a past recipient of a National Science Foundation Fellowship for graduate studies in mathematics at UC Berkeley. He is the author numerous works that have been published in more than 50 journals in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, and the Netherlands.

Mr. Bainbridge is also a member of the Real Estate Educators Association (REEA) and has received recognition as a Certified Distance Education Instructor by IDECC, which is a function of the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials.

Mr. Bainbridge lives in Los Angeles, CA.

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