Wednesday Poem: There is no Frigate like a Book (1286) ~ Emily Dickinson

frigate like a book

There is no Frigate like a Book (1286)

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul –

Emily Dickinson

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Review: Hickies, a Novella, and Four Short Stories ~ Jerry DePyper

HickiesISBN ~ 978-1470006778
Publisher ~ Createspace
No. Of Pages ~ 172 pages
Links ~ eBay, Amazon, Bokus

Human clones will soon be living among us. Ever wonder what that might be like? Will they look and act like everyone else, or will there be something missing, some barely noticeable oddity?

At some point in the future, you might find yourself working or studying right next to a cloned human, and not even know it. Until something bizarre happens. For all you know, your best friend or the one you live with might be a clone. Who knows? You might be a clone yourself.

This may sound like science fiction, but the mood of Hickies is more philosophical than high-tech or scientific. The futuristic theme becomes a mere stage upon which to explore the depths of the human psyche and soul, and to inquire into what it means to be human.

In this volume, the fictional work Hickies is complemented by four other short stories, all by the same author, and all of which may be represented as one layman’s ruminations and as simple forays into the fields of psychology and moral theology.

4 Thumbs-UpThis novella disturbed me in some very uncomfortable ways, it made me examine whether there is a possibility that, regardless of race or species, history could very well have a habit of repeating itself.  If the thought of the ghettos and labour camps of World War II make you uncomfortable, this may not be the book for you; regardless of that there is one thing this book will make you do, and that is think deeply about the world we now live in and the relationship between religion and science.

At first I was a little bothered by the fact that the characters had no real depth and substance to them, but as I continued reading I realised that this omission may very well have been a deliberate act on the part of the Author.  So little is known about the personality, traits and general reality of human cloning that by omitting any of the things that go into making us what we are the Author adds to their topic very nicely, and this leads to more questions being asked of themselves by the reader; How would I react?  Would I support them in my Community?

The downside to this novella for me, and the reason it didn’t get the five thumbs it may have, were one, the typos I came across which should have been easily picked up by a competent proof-reader and two, the novella becoming very religion based and preachy towards the end.  Rather than continuing the possible reasons behind what it means to be human, I felt that the Author was telling me that if I did not have religion in my life it was pretty much not a life.  I am not sure if the Author let their personal feelings on this subject enter the book but, for me, it felt as if the novella suddenly turned into a recruiting tool for the Catholic Church.  However, this did not make me miss the connection between the plight of the clones and the aid from the Church and those same connections that were made between Church and the Jews in WWII; this was not the only comparison to be found, and to reveal others would spoil the book for future readers.  Apart from the two points mentioned I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and finished it in a single day due to its engrossing nature.

I would highly recommend this novella, and the accompanying short stories which I have not reviewed here, to anyone is interested in psychology, philosophy and science or anyone looking for a good read that is not going to take days to complete; it would also make a good addition to any book club reading list due to the discussions it could foster.  I will definitely be reading more from this Author as I am interested to see how their style and technique develop as they become more proficient.

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Review: The Face in the Mirror: a transhuman identity crisis (Reflections #1) ~ T.R. Brown

The Face in the mirrorWhat does it mean to be human?

Imagine you’re in a tragic accident.
You expect to die!
Instead you awaken in a body that is not yours.
Not even your own species!
Not even your own gender.

In a desperate attempt to save your life your brain has been transplanted into the only body available, the body of a genetically engineered slave.

Everyone is quick to assure you that you are still “legally human,” but you know that when any stranger sees you they see property or perhaps a Frankenstenian abomination.

It is a transformation that forces Todd Hershel to reevaluate his sense of self, his gender identity, her sexual orientation and how humanity relates to its biological creations.

If your brain is in a new body whose soul do you have?

3 Thumbs-UpThere is an old saying “never judge a book by its cover”, and that is especially true in the case of this book.  If I had picked this up in a store, the cover alone would have made me put this back on the shelf, without even reading the synopsis and, by doing that I would have missed out on interesting read.  However, for those who are made uncomfortable by gender identity issues I would recommend giving this book as miss as they are a strong theme here.

This is the second book I’ve read in about a week that has really made me re-evaluate the world we live in, and what exactly it means to be “human”, and what happens when elements of our own “personality” clash with those of the donor of any organs we may have.  This book brings with it a whole slew of questions, many of which it manages to answer through its main protagonist.  This character is being pulled six ways from Sunday, not only by the confusion they feel within themselves and their dreams, but from also from the futuristic society that they live in.  Through the emotional trials and tribulations this character encounters, the reader is also made to address issues that are the forefront in many circles today, and without giving away any spoilers, it is hard to indicate what these are.  It was easy for me to feel sympathy for the main as they went through their growing pains from denial to acceptance, and the way in which the Author portrays this transition makes the journey feel real and not far-fetched as one might think.

Despite this being a very constructed and detailed plot line that makes this kind of future plausible, it felt at times as if the Author own technical knowledge took over the plot at the times when more action or drama would have been suitable.  There has obviously been a lot of research in the fields covered in this novel; such as ethics, and psychology, but again this seemed to dominate in places where it just didn’t seem appropriate and this, I feel, will make the book a rather ponderous read for some people.  What made me give the rating I did to this book was the lack of background on some of the players mentioned within its pages, I’m not sure if this is going to covered in more detail in future books in the series, but the omission of it in the first book left me feeling that the book was definitely lacking something that would have taken it up a notch.

If you are a reader looking for something a little different, that will make you think outside the box, and actually take notice of the world we live in, and on, then this is a read of you.  Despite my 3 thumbs rating I will be reading others in the series to see how it develops.

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Demographics ~ Cecelia Weir

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Demographics does not define your destiny
Education does not express the extent of your wisdom.
Love does not always justify true feelings
And life does not allow you to live as your own.

The soul lives within the flesh
The imagination travels where it may.
The spirit gives a glimpse of suppressed indications
That only our God has the final say.

What you own does not define your intelligence
A house does not make it a home.
Your precepts does not describe your culture
And when you leave you’ll be described by a stone.

Cecelia Weir