Katz, Robert I.
|Genre||Novel (260 pp.)|
|Keywords||Anatomy, Body Self-Image, Freedom, Genetic Engineering, Individuality, Medical Advances, Memory, Power Relations, Rebellion, Science Fiction, Technology|
The story takes place in the distant future on a world called New Sparta, shortly after the Irredentist rebellion has been put down. Edward Maret, a wealthy and likeable young man, is about to get married, but doesn't realize until too late that he has enemies close at hand. As a result of their betrayal, Edward disappears into the bowels of the police establishment, only to emerge as a zombie-like cyborg (AX-17). After surviving several years as a cyborg-soldier who has no memory of his human life, AX-17 is captured by the alien Kliya, who initiate a process that leads the cyborg to regain his human identity.
Edward Maret re-emerges--a man betrayed, a man who suffers incalculable pain, a man who has lost everything, including the love of his life. The brutalized man journeys across the galaxy to the Confederation, where physical existence has become a burden to humans, who spend most of their "real" lives in a virtual world of wish fulfillment.
Eventually, he returns to New Sparta with a new identity and a plan to obtain his revenge. Piece by piece the elaborate plan falls into place. Yet at the climax, Edward is forced to look deeply into his character and motivation, while coming to terms with his past.
This story takes many of the conventions of science fiction, shakes them up a little, and sets them off in new directions. In particular, the book deals with the question of human identity and the relationship of the body to the person. Does Edward remain Edward throughout? What happens to his free will when he becomes a cyborg?
Edward's adventures in the Confederation raise additional questions about the nature of life itself. If human experience can somehow be translated entirely into cyberspace, it may well be possible to eliminate the organic part of humans (and the human world), thereby allowing us to live an ostensibly fuller life as patterns of data in an electronic world.
|Place Published||Holliston, Mass.|
|Annotated by||Coulehan, Jack|
|Date of Entry||02/23/01|