The Fountain Boxed Set: Flash Back, Second Nature, and Being Human Kindle Edition
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Here's some excerpts of my reviews of the individual books, to give you an idea of what they're like.
On "Flash Back":
The concept of gene/cell therapy is not unusual in sci-fi, but what sets Flash Back apart is its focus on the inner lives of the characters rather than the accoutrements of the future. Things in 2026 are pretty much the same as they are in 2016, other than slightly more advanced medicine and communication possibilities. People, however, are pretty much the same, and Charley's struggles will probably ring a bell with most readers. She's always wanted to be unique and different and have exciting adventures, but it turns out that being unique is hard and exciting adventures are not that much fun when they're actually happening--her recurring dreams of a memory of hiking in the Alps and discovering that it's mostly about sweating and sore muscles, not glorious uplifting epiphanies, is a wonderful insight into her character and the characters of so, so many people. This is not an adventure novel in the classic sense, and the actual sci-fi aspect is understated: the main focus is always on Charley's journey and experiences, and as a detailed and in-depth character study it is well worth reading.
On "Second Nature":
Like "Flash Back" and The Watchers books, "Second Nature" is sci fi/speculative fiction, but it's a deliberately slow-paced, interior-oriented work, focused on the inner life of the main character and her thoughts and doubts, rather than dramatic action sequences. In a way it reminds me of Kim Stanley Robinson's Orange County novels: there are similar concerns about society building and the effects of technology on ethics and behavior, as well as a melding of high tech/low tech in the evolving, futuristic lifestyle. However, "Second Nature" has much more of the feel of a diary to it, and is much more focused on what are often considered "women's" issues, with the main character negotiating not just romantic relationships but also her relationships with her sister and her adoptive and biological mothers. An interesting and unusual story of the future that sets up the problems that will come to a head in the final book in the trilogy.
On "Being Human":
Like the first two books in the Fountain trilogy, "Being Human" considers some of the "big questions" of the future of humanity, such as medical intervention and its effects on individual lives and society as a whole. The issues under consideration are big picture problems, viewed through the small lens of the day-to-day life of the main character and her personal concerns. Although Emery and her friends are working to save all of humanity, what the reader gets is mainly their inner lives, which helps keep the story in focus.
As in the earlier books, we are treated to the inner thoughts of a curious, intellectual woman, and her relationships not just with men she's romantically interested in, but with a variety of friends and family members. There's a particular emphasis in this book on relationships between women and both the support and the rivalry that can arise between them. Recommended for readers looking for a psychological futuristic story that passes the Bechdel test.
My thanks to the author for providing a review copy. All opinions are my own.
With subject matter dear to the science-fiction genre such as time travel and rejuvenation, these books have the kind of genre-spanning appeal that merits a moment of respect, not to mention utterly plausible world-building that supports the dilemmas the characters face.
In Flash Back, we meet Charlotte Rhys Fenn. Charley is in her fifties, has been married for nearly twenty years, has plenty of income - and is bored out of her mind by her life. In desperation to alleviate the humdrum of her life, she finally begins to research a cutting-edge surgery, known only as Renovation.
The mess of issues Charley faces in trying to make peace between her desires and her responsibilities will be shockingly familiar to many readers. Flash Back is well-written, with an analytical, laser-focus on the workings of inter-personal connections.
In Second Nature, the human population on Earth was ravaged by a disease that targeted anyone with genetic modification. in a small underground community near what used to be Seattle, the descendants of Charlotte Rhys Avery still live. Emery Kidd, 68 years old with the appearance of a 17-year-old, is illicitly researching her connection to the mother of regeneration.
Where Flash Back in many ways studied the dissolution of a long-term relationship as its back story, Second Nature deals with love, commitment, and how the urge to reproduce could be affected by effective immortality. This series is sci-fi that will make you think, its concepts framed in very human stories.
Being Human continues the story of Emery Kidd, newly engaged to Aiden Brodie, and living in the community of Tymony, a bubble outside time. Emery’s slowly driving herself crazy with boredom, to the point where she's almost relieved when Sera Strong blows into town and proposes a project to save the future of humanity – again.
With a star cast of Ellison Blackburn’s incredibly well-written, deep characters, Being Human is the third in the trilogy, tracing the history immediately after the start of the Progeny Project. While the underlying fascination of the plot is time, mortality, paradox, and sexual fidelity, the story frames it in a rich tapestry of events and realistic characters, sliding the serious concepts in via sleight of hand amid the emotional drama between the characters.
This set was provided free of charge to me and this is my honest opinion.
This is a very intense read and I found it to be more psychological than actual futuristic speculative fiction even though the story is set in a futuristic time period. Very well written it is rather slow at times but it does relate the various problems and decisions made in the journey called life and how these affect the future. I would recommend this book to all those readers who love reading about an individual's personal journey and experiences.