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The Old Soul (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Length: 18 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews Review

"Thirty seconds after the death of Charles Filippini, the being which comprised the core of his identity was in full flight." So begins The Old Soul, a wondrous piece of pseudonymous short fiction that--along with the stunning closer to Rajesh Parameswaran's I Am an Executioner--ranks as one of the year's best science-fiction stories so far. A speculative rumination on microbiology, reincarnation, and the joyous taste of fresh strawberries, The Old Soul follows a mysterious organism ("That-Which-Had-Been") on a miraculous journey that yields a beautiful homage to the classic pulp fiction of Asimov's told through the dense vocabulary of Gray's Anatomy. Highly recommended. --Jason Kirk

Product Details

  • File Size: 85 KB
  • Print Length: 18 pages
  • Publisher: G Realist Ink (April 5, 2012)
  • Publication Date: April 5, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,278 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

'Joseph Wurtenbaugh' and 'Josephine Wurtenbaugh' are the writing names of Frank Dudley Berry, Jr. Both are variants of his mother's maiden name.

Mr. Berry's first novel was 'Thursday's Child', an epic love story that infused a conventional romance formula with a rich novel of ideas. Since a female pseudonym is all but required in that genre, Mr. Berry chose the name 'Josephine Wurtenbaugh'. (The author is married and the father of two daughters.) He still uses that variant for fiction that appeals primarily to women.

Mr. Berry uses the alternate version 'Joseph Wurtenbaugh' for other work. Three short stories, 'The Old Soul','Warm Moonlight', and 'Newton in the New Age'that appear as Kindle Singles, have been published under that name. He has also published a novel 'Alone in the Fortress' as 'Joseph Wurtenbaugh'.

Mr. Berry's notes on these pieces can be found at this blog - "".

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This kindle single was an unexpected treat to read. Although I do love science and science fiction, I'm definitely not overly knowledgable about microbiology and the like; however, that did not keep me from enjoying this little tale. It's the story of a tiny being, something so small as to be insignificant to the human eye, yet so elementally and substantially important as to survive life after life, and civilization after civilization. This is the journey of that small entity, a truly old soul acting on a primordial instinct to seek the light as it leaves its dying human host and struggles to make its way to a new host.

On this strange journey, we follow along as 'it' hitches a ride from amoeba to dust mite, from flea to fly, from one animal to the next, continuing on in its quest to take root in some other being which will give it a rebirth. This story really does make you think of reincarnation, of past lives and memories, and of those times you may have felt as if you had been somewhere before, or felt as if you had a connection to a place far away from your birth, perhaps another place and time in existence.

The being's journey was complicated, making this reader feel anxiety and a great expectation to see just how this would all play out. Although the utimate goal was surely seen, it made that final destination and new home no less remarkable. The Old Soul is a very interesting read, and although a fairly quick read at 18 pages/300 locations, this short story builds the excitement and leads the reader down a curious path of thinking and wondering about that very thing which makes us more than our human body, to consider just what exactly is the soul and how many homes can it have. Really, an incredibly interesting little story, very well written and perfectly balancing science with the unknown and the mystical.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"The Old Soul" was one of the most original and thought-provoking stories I've read in quite some time. In some ways it was reminiscent of the film "Fantastic Voyage," where a tiny submarine and crew traveled through a human body. But in "The Old Soul," the traveler was a microscopic entity that had to leave Dr. Charles Filippini's body immediately after his death. The story implied (or at least hinted) that the entity was his soul, which needed to find and inhabit another higher form of life, no matter how long it took or how circuitous the journey.

The details of the entity's journey were fascinating. The term is probably over-used, but this was indeed a page-turner, one that I finished in only half an hour. In one of Tom Clancy's novels, there was a mesmerizing nanosecond-by-nanosecond description of the detonation of a nuclear weapon. Author Joseph Wurtenbaugh's step-by-step account of the microorganism's journey to find another host was equally compelling stuff.

And at the end, you may rethink your beliefs about the significance of a "deja vu" experience.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I came across this sci-fi short story randomly and thought, "Hey, for 99 cents why not?". What a great surprise! This little story of the Old Soul, of That-Which-Had-Been, is one of the most unique pieces of fiction I've read in a long time. While there are very specific descriptions of micro-organisms battling it out and microanatomy, it doesn't read dryly at all. It's a different kind of fantastic voyage. Biology meets spirituality meets science fiction!

The other perk is that the small snippets of human characters are very well written. He manages to do a lot of character development in just a few sentences. I just really enjoyed it and think it is definitely worth your time and your dollar to give this single a quick read. Based on this single, I am now reading his novel Thursday's Child, written under the name Josephine Wurtenbaugh.
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This is a skillful piece of short fiction written in an effortless style, even though the author envisions the complex and agonizing journey of a certain biochemical molecule through a process of death to rebirth.

Imagine a short story in which the viewpoint character is a biochemical molecule!

Well, that's what this author did, and the result for most readers will be a compelling page-turner they'll gobble up in less than an hour of leisurely reading.

One of the things I like about "The Old Soul" is that it defies genre. I can't decide: Is this science fiction, New Age spirituality or perhaps the ancient Vedic concept of reincarnation re-framed with the viewpoint of a modern-day molecular biologist? But that's a side issue. It doesn't really matter because this is a work that stands on its own, and for what it is.

While I found this an entertaining, insightful and provocative read, I dare say it will not be everyone's cup of tea, or I should say, not everyone's bowl of biochemical soup. Our heroic biological molecule will do battle with myxoviruses, rhinoviruses and icornaviruses -make a thrilling escape down the microbiological food chain - only to face absorption by a marauding entamoeba hystolica - which it cleverly outsmarts by blending unobtrusively into the amoeba's cytoplasm! And it's just getting started!

How about that!

A minor mystery for me is the identity of the author, which is listed as Joseph Wurtenbaugh. The copyright is under the name of Frank Dudley Berry, Jr. - and at the end, the author encourages us to check out his (her?) book, "Thursday's Child" which is published as Josephine Wurtenbaugh.

Again, this is a side issue of little consequence. Whether it's by Frank, Joseph or Josephine, this is a fine piece of literature.
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