Moonkind: Survivors of Ebola by Bruce Merchant
A bizarre mix of Madmen and Lord of the Flies…on the moon. But where the heck is the plot?!
I am flummoxed. This story is set 1,000 years in the future (mostly) dealing with the aftermath of a major epidemic. In order for humanity to survive, they arrange for clones to be raised on the moon by robots (I’m simplifying).
However, and this is where it’s always problematic for subject specialists to write fiction, there is zero plot. There is, however, highly technical medical jargon, which is completely unnecessary. At least, unnecessary to this degree. Please, please, more story, less jargon.
The first quarter of the book jumps back and forth in time giving character descriptions and reads more like character sheets for a rousing game of sci-fi D&D. Except we never get the rousing game! Sure, there’s some intrigue in the last quarter of the book, which provides some suspense, but, I say again, no. plot.
Now, I could maybe overlook that, except the dialogue is trite, and the characters are horribly old-fashioned tropes. It’s 21-whatever AD and you can create an entirely new society, yet you choose to have the developing clone children discover the opposite sex (problematic anyway for so many reasons) with horribly infantilized language like, oh my gosh she’s just so pretty, she’s a total babe, what are all these strange feelings in my tummy? Blech.
And then, the games they play: cowboys & indians? The humans who designed the education system were born 1,000 years from now. Why on Earth (pardon the pun) would they teach children cowboys & indians? And they watch ancient (1940s-1950s era) Disney cartoons? Bizarre.
Final complaint: while I personally dislike overly religious fiction, as long as the religious aspect serves a purpose in the novel, I ignore it. The problem, is when a religious outlook is presented as an inevitable fact. I find it even more problematic when the religious dogma is presented to clones, in 2173 AD, by a robotic teacher who was programmed by scientists. Yet, this is the
sermon lesson presented to the children: “I should probably make another important distinction. Each of you is a clone, not a robot. Robots are inventions of man. Individual humans are creations of God, and you, as clones of humans, are simply extensions of what humanity has decided were some of the better examples of the Creator’s handiwork.” Seriously? That’s how you choose to describe human beings to clones? As “creations of God”?
How about this definition from Merriam-Webster: “A bipedal primate belonging to the genus Homo, especially Homo sapiens. In taxonomy, humans belong to the family Hominidae, of the Primates, under class Mammalia of phylum Chordata. They are identified by the highly developed brain that confers advanced skills in abstract reasoning, articulate language, self-awareness, problem solving, and sapience. They are bipedal primates having an erect carriage. They are skillful in handling objects with their hands. Humans may also be described as social animals capable of showing sympathy with other beings, and living life with (inherent) values and ethics.” That seems much more informative and applicable in a science-fiction novel.
Now, if Christian fiction is your bag, and you don’t mind 400 pages of character description, you might like this. I cannot recommend it though.
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.