Author: Nick Sagan
Genre: science fiction, dystopic (worldwide plague, post-apocalyptic world)
Length: 240 pages
Source: public library
Reason for Reading: It is the final installment in a trilogy that I started years ago. I recently listened to the second book, Edenborn (review here) and couldn’t wait to finish the story.
Summary (from book jacket):
A small group of humans has survived the apocalyptic epidemic called Black Ep, a disease that ravaged the world and left them alone on Earth. The survivors gradually awaken others, who had been put into a state of frozen sleep to await a future when the disease might be cured. At first, everyone agrees on the basics: We’re lucky to be alive. We’re all in this together. Let’s look out for each other and build a better world.
But inevitably, as more sleepers are roused, there are those who disagree. People who remember power are waking up to a new world, and they do not intend to wait their turn politely. And from very far off indeed, one more surprise awaits the survivors–a shock that will transform the future for everyone in this post-plague, perhaps even post-human, world.
My Thoughts: I can safely say that this trilogy is one of my favorites. Each of the books are very different–caused, no doubt, by the changes in the characters and their world. At the same time, they are all excellently tied together.
This book does have an epilogue. While I usually don’t like them, I actually preferred it over the ending before the epilogue. Without the epilogue there’s a very “happily ever after” ending, all warm and fuzzy. And that would have been okay, if the rest of the trilogy wasn’t so serious and slightly doubtful. I found it a little funny that I didn’t want them to be completely happy 😕
At one point in this book, I honestly had the thought “Mind = Blown!” About halfway through the book, after the PHs (posthumans: Halloween, Fantasia, Pandora, Isaac, Vashti, and Champagne) started thawing the Gedaechtnis scientists (those who genetically engineered the posthumans), they find out there were other “children” (posthumans) created in a Hong Kong program! I couldn’t believe it when I heard that there were more Humans 2.0 out there!! I loved this crazy twist.
But my enthusiasm for such an unexpected surprise soon dwindled. I thought these Chinese posthumans would play a pivotal role in the rest of the book. I actually was thinking that the differences between the Gedaechtnis PHs and the Chinese PHs would cause something akin to war. The Chinese PHs were brought up in IVR knowing the task they would have when they returned to the real world (unlike the Gedaechtnis PHs). Also, they were scheduled to leave IVR at the age of 15, three years before the Gedaechtnis PHs, in order to sort of turn the Gedaechtnis PHs into sort of slaves. But, alas! This war/feud never materialized. In fact, the Chinese PHs had little to no importance throughout the rest of the story.
I can sort of see a possible spin-off book or series from Sagan in the future. In this book, Halloween has dreams in which a microorganism calling itself Bill Angler and identifying itself as an alien from far away presents itself to Hal. He calls himself one of the Free, who will be coming to earth to sort of take over the humans that survived Black Ep. He says the Free sent Black Ep to weed out the weak. If the civilization could recover, then it meant something special. Anyways, I can sort of see this sort of thing turn into another story. And I think I would be greatly interested. Sounds a little like it could be The Host by Stephenie Meyer!
Retreating to fantasy he [Zhang Zhao] could process the deaths and the abandonment only within the confines of an old Hollywood movie, one of many stored in their media base. Wracked by survivor guilt, it was more comforting for Zhao to believe that nefarious machines hated humans, working to destroy them or enslave them to their will. I suppose this explains his perplexing behavior, treating me like an old friend, calling me “Morpheus”, repeatedly asking, “How deep does the rabbit hole go?” (p140)
Anyone who has seen the Matrix movies will understand the reference to the movie. And I found this even more interesting because of thoughts I had when I first read Idlewild, the first book in this trilogy. The PHs were raised in IVR until they were 18, when they returned to the real world. Sounds an awful lot like being in the Matrix and then being unplugged into a pretty desolate reality. I had this thought when I started reading Idlewild, as I’d already seen the first two Matrix movies by then. And then Sagan goes and actually references them 🙂 A later passage in the book names Malachi (the AI in charge of IVR) as the Ghost in the Machine, yet another Matrix reference!
What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t invent with your tongue. (p200)
Apparently this is a Yiddish saying, according to the main character. Wherever it came from, it’s very wise.
Politics is the act of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies. (p3)
Again, main character says this is Groucho Marx. True or otherwise in its origin, I love that statement!