Monday, May 12, 2014

Reader's Diary #1121- Ken MacLeod: A Tulip for Lucretius

Ken MacLeod's "A Tulip for Lucretius," if I'm understanding it correctly, is very similar in concept to Avatar, in which minds are downloaded into genetically engineered bodies. Both were published in 2009, so I'm not suggesting one copied the other, it's probably just what the sci-fi minds were preoccupied with at the time.

But when I say "if I'm understanding it correctly" that shouldn't bode well. There's a lot of heavy talk about religious philosophy, not to mention a few tangents about Lovecraft and other topics. A story about humans using those genetically engineered mind-transporters (MacLeod more eloquently refers to them as "synths") for slaves should certainly pose a lot of serious ethical, religious, and philosophical debate, but that's a lot to take on in a short story, especially as such stories also tend to throw out a lot of real and pseudo-technical talk in order to set up the universe. It ends with a revolution, but there was not enough build up of tension to make this even remotely exciting. A boring revolution? That ain't right.

Despite my love of short stories, I think this one would have been better suited as a novel.

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