Wednesday, 6 July 2016
Book Review: But Thomas Aiken is Dead by Alex McKechnie
For the first time in a while, I found a book I couldn't put down...and I only got part 1 of 3! What a tease. This novel is written in the style of letters and an interrogation transcription. One is set in presumably present day. The other set in the distant future. The details and explanations given about the future were so natural and intriguing, I have to give the McKechnie credit. It was so well done and left me wanting more.
At first I didn't see how Thomas' writings had anything to do with Atia in the future, but it slowly appeared and we recognize the start of the development into Atia's present, our distant future, through the missing character of Fran. I can see how that transition intrigued Atia, as it intrigued me.
Something that stood out is how, with both Thomas and Atia, their words and discussions with their children deeply affected who they grew up to be and how they act. Thomas claimed that no one ever died. So Fern, his missing daughter, goes to see if that can be made possible. Presumably. We haven't found out yet, but we have a pretty good idea. (That's another thing! McKechnie didn't give me all the information, but I didn't feel the need for it. Of course, I want it. But I'm fine going along for the ride, and if you've read any of my other reviews, you know that's not often the case with me.) Atia went the opposite way, trying to show the benefits of ningen life, but the other half of her infant's...DNA?...leaned toward merging with all life forces. Prolonging life.
The rest of the novel has been added to my "must read now!!" list. It was a great read, with superb writing (only a few blips here and there) and a fascinating story. There's so much more I could say about this novel, about how it made me think about humanity, our sense of community and the global village, how the fear of death and even loneliness can presumably spur technological advances and research....but I won't. Even though I only touched the surface of the themes McKechnie wrote about. I highly recommend this novel, to basically anyone who enjoys reading.