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Halfskin: A Technothriller Kindle Edition
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M0ther, who is sort of like Big Brother, is mentioned as the end of all freedoms (she reads people via their biomites & uses them like Lo-Jack). We hear about M0ther, but really just observe her effects through the work of Marcus Anderson. M0ther could be a novel in itself, but its participation in this story is merely lip-service.
All the profound questions I mentioned at the beginning of this review are merely inferred through the story. What is the author's view? I would say ambivalent. Although the anti-biomite crusader Marcus Anderson is obviously playing the role of ultimate moral evil in this story (quite a cartoonish portrayal), the author does hint towards some ambivalence towards the bio-mite takeover of the body. Early on, a character observes that as biomites take a larger part of his being, life feels less real. In fact, it seems he welcomes his shutdown.
So what you are left with is a light read with a skim over some very heavy issues. By and large it was a good read, but I think most Sci-Fi fans will feel a little cheated that so many issues were not better developed. I would say read it as long as its cheap.
In the not to distant future, artificial stem cells known as biomites are used to treat almost any affliction, from life saving to vanity procedures. However, the scientists have not found a way to turn the biomites off after they have finished doing the procedure for which they were intended, and continue to multiply and replace human cells. If left to their own devises, the human body would be completely composed of biomites. This brings up a slew of ethical questions, most notably when would a person no longer be considered human. A series of laws were enacted to deal with these issues. When a person reaches 40 percent biomites, they are sent to a holding facility to be monitored. When the biomites population reaches 50 percent, the government's supercomputer known as 'Mother' will shutdown the biomites leading to the person's death.
When he was a child, Nixon Richards, known as Nix, was in a car accident which claimed his parent's lives. Nix was severely injured and injected with biomites to save his life. Nix is taken in by his sister Cali, who just happened to be a brilliant scientist. Cali knew that it was only a matter of time before Nix redlined and was taken into custody by the government and eventually shut down. She began working on a biomite strain that could not be tracked or shutdown by Mother. Hounded by Marcus Anderson, a driven government agent, Nix and Cali try to go off the grid and live the rest of their lives in peace.
The ending was a bit weak, but there is a sequel. Overall, a very enjoyable book.
Perhaps the coolest thing about this is that it isn't really that far out in any respect. I was just reading an article by Kurzweil
saying that we'll be connecting mentally to the cloud in 2-3 decades. According to him, he's been correct on over 80% of his predictions. Whether or not he's as right as he thinks he is or not, no one can deny that intellectual technology is growing at an accelerating rate along the curves that he's predicted & is causing huge social changes.
That's what's so neat about this is the 'bad' guy really isn't, at least not in his own lights. Religion is about stability & he's facing a new world with a conservative mind set, but he might just be right. As much as I disliked him at times, his points were well reasoned. Bertauski subtly bolsters his arguments, too. It was tough knowing who to root for sometimes. My favorite sort of story.
I highly recommend it!
Everything about this tale is involving and sucks you in, You deeply care about the people, and their struggle against an oppression. (I try not to spoil in my reviews). I will give you a tantalizing hint that a child's drawing is used in a very unexpected way.
In fact, the only criticism I have is that it ended way too soon. Maybe a bit abruptly, but I look forward to the second in the series.