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Mortals All Paperback – November 18, 2012
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The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Novelist, journalist, satirist...Bruce Golden’s career as a professional writer spans more than three decades. His other novels include EVERGREEN, BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE, and Red Sky, Blue Moon. His short stories have published more than 100 times across 11 countries and 15 anthologies, as well as in the collection DANCING WITH THE VELVET LIZARD. You can read more about Bruce's books at: http://goldentales.tripod.com/
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Mortals All is a well-written story set in a future time when artificial humans, or andrones, are the newest slave class. Created to function as servants for humans, andrones are without rights and deprived of autonomy. Although they are engineered to be servile, some of them long for freedom. Mary 79 is one such androne. Zach is a writer of space novels who meets Mary 79 in a bar. He is looking for a one-night stand, but soon finds himself embroiled in a conflict between the laws of the land and the urgings of his heart. His heart wins out and he tries to help Mary 79. As rogue andrones are customarily pursued and destroyed, the new romance is fraught with danger as Mary 79 tries to connect with others of her kind and avoid being killed. Zach is pulled into the intrigue which puts his safety at risk as well.
Mortals All has a little bit of everything. Along with jabs at religious hypocrisy, the author in his narrative touches on the double-sided treachery of politics and illuminates the kind of mob mentality that condones and fosters oppression of certain classes of people. The parallels to the history of slavery in our nation are inevitable. Yet, Mr. Golden handles all of these issues with the finesse of a real storyteller. The story is well-paced; the world he creates is believable; and the dialogue is natural. The story is told in the first-person by the various characters, each chapter representing a different point of view. The author does an exemplary job of keeping the character dialects and personalities true to form.
I found the book to be engaging, holding my interest up to the final page. And I particularly liked the little surprise at the end that gives the reader a big sigh of relief.
As for the physical book itself, it was professionally bound and formatted. There were very few typographical mishaps, and none that were jarring. I detected no editorial flaws. I liked the novel well enough that I ordered another of this author's books, and look forward to reading more works by this very talented writer.
The scenes when the on-the-make human, Zachariah Starr, teaches the female androne, Mary 79, about sex are both sensual and humorous. The entire book is actually tinted with satire--though the humor is subtle, not overt. When this pair's relationship evolves into something greater than lust, this story really begins to grab you by the soul. Mary learns from Zach what it means to be human, while he learns from her what love is, and, more important, can be.
This is not a book for hard scifi fans. Other than the andrones, some minor futuristic inventions, and travel within the solar system, there's not a lot of scifi hardware here. This is a character study that happens to take place more than a hundred years in the future. Much of it is reminiscent of Heinlein's works. Some may read it and think "Well, this and this have been done before." True to an extent, and maybe there are no great innovations in this novel, but I don't think what is here has been done quite this way before.
Not a real meal, but an enjoyable piece of sci-fi candy.