Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful

Arwen Elys Dayton
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Nov 18, 2019

This is top-notch science fiction--it takes today's scientific advancements and speculates how they might play out in the future, considering legal, ethical, and practical ramifications along the way. The book does this over the course of six lightly connected stories, each progressively further in the future. The topic is gene editing and body modification.

The first story starts simply enough with improved organ transplants from one dying twin to another and ends with a distant reality in which the handful or pure, unmodified humans are kept safe on a reservation as a sort of archival library of humanity's past. In between are a story about a girl with much of her body artificially reconstructed after a car accident; a boy whose fetal DNA modifications led to unexpected developments, so, to have a purpose, is further modified for an aquatic life overseeing chimera manatees grown with extra human internal organs to be harvested when needed; and a boy awoken from a cryogenic freeze to have most of his body replaced by machinery and made to mine platinum on asteroids as a slave. Plus a short tale from the perspective of the daughter of Rev. Tad Tadd, a charismatic celebrity demagogue who goes from condemning anything unnatural to celebrating all changes and appears (at least in passing reference) in each of the stories.

The characters are emotionally human, engaging, and sympathetic as they do their best to deal with their circumstances and the hostility of others, whether that be religious persecution, social stigmatization, corporate control, escape from slavery, plague, or more. I enjoyed following each of them and am sure other readers will as well.          

Reviewed by Chris K.
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