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Friday, February 12, 2010

An Audience for Einstein by Mark Wakely

An Audience for Einstein by Mark Wakely
Publisher: Mundania Press
Genre: Futuristic, Sci-fi
Length: Full Length (176 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 suns
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Professor Percival Marlowe is a brilliant, elderly astrophysicist who's dying, his greatest achievement still unfinished and now beyond his diminished means.

Doctor Carl Dorning, a neurosurgeon, finally discovers a secret method of transplanting memories from one person to another, thanks to Marlowe's millions.

Miguel Sanchez, a homeless boy, agrees to become the recipient of Marlowe's knowledge and personality in this unorthodox experiment, enticed by Dorning's promises of intelligence, wealth and respect, but dangerously unaware that his own identity will be lost forever.

What results is a seesaw battle for control of Miguel's body, as Marlowe learns to his dismay what his lifetime of arrogance and conceit has earned him.

And when Marlowe stumbles upon the shocking procedure Dorning used in desperation to succeed, the professor does what he must to defeat Dorning and redeem himself at last.

An Audience for Einstein is a truly futuristic Science fiction novel. We step back in time to fully comprehend the goals and dreams of one of the chief characters, Astrophysicist Professor Percival Marlowe. Then we meet him again, in his waning years, his achievement as yet incomplete. You cannot help but to sympathize with his increasing frustration, even desperation.

Young Miguel Sanchez (in a collision course with the good professor from the start) is motivated by his circumstances to voluntarily take on the knowledge, education and memory of the aging Professor Marlowe. We readers understand Marlowe’s motivation in imparting these (which on one hand might seem a great gift) because he so desires that his greatest achievement will be reached. The means are brought about by a possibly less-than-ethical doctor, who’s own greatest achievement allows that access to the mind’s memories.

But its never so simple as all that. The gift of mind and memory will result in the loss of the self-–Miguel, as he was, will cease to exist, merely becoming a tool of Marlowe. We see this coming before Miguel, and wait for the contemplative and soul-searching on a journey that must surely and thoroughly affect all three chief participants in the scheme.

The relationship that develops between Marlowe and Miguel is surprising and fascinating. Once or twice, in the war between he who was Marlowe and Miguel’s own personality, the personalities don’t stay quite true to themselves (Miguel especially, has a knowledge level that seems to increase in the struggle to assert itself, then recedes…which appears to be the point, but it seems hardly fair that he both uses and rejects Marlowe’s intelligence, at the same time.) Certainly, the personality struggle is the absolute center of the story, and at the same time, difficult to exhibit coherently. Other characters, like Natalie, offer a different (if limited) perspective on the ongoing impact on Miguel. In addition to the main characters, it’s wonderful to find secondary characters so full and rich and well-developed.

Science is a major component in this original novel which is ultimately about people, choices and identifying right and wrong.

A lot of An Audience for Einstein recalls the older, classic stories of science-fiction. The achievements of the future; the science supporting the goals are almost in sight, and the moral and ethical cost is part of the plot. This work offers a rather dark premise and not surprisingly leads to a rather dark story.

Very satisfying and engaging.I give this story 4 suns.

1 comment:

Shione said...

This takes place in Cambridge, England 1924