- File Size: 271 KB
- Print Length: 34 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: 40k (September 28, 2011)
- Publication Date: September 28, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005QSTIL8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#1,656,294 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #1786 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > One hour (33-43 pages) > Science Fiction & Fantasy
- #2287 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Technothrillers
- #3329 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Hard Science Fiction
If By Reason of Strength (A Techno-thriller) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Norman's story is not just a reflexion about life and its meaning, it's also a way to question the future and consequences of people's actions. What are the odds of finding a new "life form" which can give us many good things, and simply destroying it?
Jamie Todd Rubin's narrative keeps the reader interested in the story because of his great way to manage time and setting. The narrator tells just the amount of information he wants so the thriller sense is maintained during the whole story. The use of intertextuality is also a wise move in the text, so you can find references to Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, the Bible and Bradbury that enriches the reading.
To Norman Gilmore, all life is sacred, although he was convicted for the deaths of four of of his crew mates on mankind's first excursion to Mars. Two hundred eighty years later upon his release, he seeks atonement, in part, by giving mankind the secret to his own longevity. But will his gift really be a curse to people who don't have something to strive for?
In contrast, the powers that be treat life as a commodity. To them, life is subject to the same kind of calculus we use to allocate material capital. Gilmore is convicted on the basis of a clumsy calculation - a lifetime for a life - as intention is seemingly never considered by the court in the case of his own crimes. The martians are eradicated for the expansion of mankind. And when the remnants of their species are discovered still alive, they are subject, yet again, to a type of cost/benefit analysis that benefits possibly everyone. But does that make the calculus morally sound?
Jamie Todd Rubin raises these questions in this haunting, melancholy tale of a man who wrestles with them and his own deep regrets after four lifetimes and the long return trip to Mars.
The story feels and invokes the Golden Age of science fiction, to its credit and benefit, as well as its detriment. Jamie holds strong and fast to the idea he invokes, and any science fiction short story that invokes Dr. Seuss is more than okay in my book.
If by Reason of Strength, in addition to its Golden Age production values, has a good backbone of further ideas beyond the "300 year old murderer being released from prison". I hesitate to reveal the gems of ideas that the author brings forward here, for fear of spoilers on a relatively short novella. But, that, too, is pure Golden Age, ideas tossed casually at the reader rather than parsimoniously hoarded. The author is a reader and reviewer of old science fiction, and the love he has for that time period clearly comes through in his own writing, but it is more informed and infused than straight up imitation. Call it a homage to Golden Age SF Writing. The story keeps humming along and doesn't have time to flag.
However, there are a fair sheaf of implausibilities in the scenario presented in the story, which threatened my sense of disbelief.
That said, however, the story was well written on the mechanics, was entertaining, and did very well in pulling this reader forward, to uncover the mysteries the author had waiting to uncover and decipher. Implausibilities aside, the story was an interesting read, and the themes invoked well developed.
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