Requiem of the Human Soul

The human race is on trial. At stake… Its continued existence

Avatar and Requiem: the comparison

A number of people have told me that Requiem of the Human Soul reminded them of the movie Avatar.  So I finally got up my courage, put on the 3D glasses and went to see for myself.

I loved the special effects, and like so many others, I got caught up in the Pocahontas-style storyline.  But now, what’s that all got to do with Requiem?  Well, of course there’s the obvious fact that in the late 22nd century world of Requiem, everybody uses virtual reality in the same way they do in Avatar.  My vision of 22nd century virtual reality is similar to James Cameron’s, but in my technology, you put on a kind of diving suit with millions of little electrodes, so when you want to move your avatar, you don’t just think about, you actually move your hand or foot and the avatar’s hand or foot moves with you.   Here’s a link to the novel website that describes Requiem‘s virtual reality in more detail.

But, I think when people compare Requiem to Avatar, it’s the vision of the world-spirit, the animistic sense of connectedness that they’re talking about. Avatar offers a beautifully blended metaphor of a plugged-in universe, where technology, environment and spirituality all fuse together.   I’ve published a post on the companion blog to this, Tyranny of the Prefrontal Cortex, calledAvatar: A 21st Century Aspirational Cosmology,” where I suggest that part of Avatar‘s popularity arises from it offering an easy techno solution to our modern spiritual longing.

In Requiem, though, things aren’t quite as easy.  The Nobel Prize winning neuroscientist, Julius Schumacher, discovers that the human soul is interconnected through our DNA with all other life on earth.  It’s a moment when science and spirituality have the potential of coming together in a way where they can infuse meaning in each other.  Here’s how his protege, Brian Chang, describes it:

“You know Julius’ analogy about the soul, how it’s like an orchestra?” Brian started speaking after lots of humming and herring and clearing his throat nervously.   “You know, how over five hundred million years of evolution, as life on earth began branching off into plants, reptiles, mammals, a shared harmony existed between the DNA of every living object on earth?”

“And as creatures became more diverse, the harmony between their DNA and the DNA of other creatures became more complex, but it never disappeared.”   Brian’s voice was taking on more authority with every sentence.   “Julius theorized that the soul is not something that can ever be tangibly identified, but it exists as a series of relationships, patterns, vibrations, between different elements of a living creature’s DNA and RNA.”

“So Julius saw the origins of the soul to be the Earth itself.   The relationship between man and the Earth is integral to the existence of the soul.   In fact, Julius believed this was the basis for the immortality of the soul.”

But in Requiem‘s 22nd century world, this didn’t lead to the happy harmony of Pandora.  Instead, genetic engineering may have destroyed the soul, like changing the shape a musical instrument would destroy the music.  The thing is, even without genetic engineering, the human race hasn’t done such a good job of exploring its connectivity with Nature.  On the contrary, we’ve spent at least two thousand years pulling it apart.  In the novel, Julius founds a Humanist community, where a century later, Eusebio Franklin, the novel’s hero is born.  But the Humanists remain a small, isolated, group in an increasingly genetically-optimized, soulless world.

Avatar may be a lot of fun to watch, but I think part of its popularity arises from its vision of an easy techno-organic solution to our world’s problems.  Sorry guys, but Requiem doesn’t offer that solution.  It might, however, help you to see some of the real issues we face as we go hurtling through this century of climate change and unsustainable onslaught on our so-called natural resources… and as we pursue our intimations of immortality through genetic engineering.

Advertisements

March 31, 2010 Posted by | The Soul | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Requiem of the Human Soul – check out the official website

The official website of Requiem of the Human Soul has a lot more going on than one of your traditional author websites.  In addition to offering book excerpts, it explores in detail some of the main themes of the book, such as the long-term impact of human genetic engineering on our society, and thoughts about what the idea of “the human soul” really means.

Want to explore the website but not sure where to start?  Check out the options below…

The Plot. If you want to know more about the story of Requiem of the Human Soul before reading the book for yourself, click here to find out how Eusebio gets pulled into his terrible dilemma.

The Humanists. Eusebio comes from a small community of Humanists.   Founded by Dr. Julius Schumacher in the 21st century, the Humanists are a group whose members chose never to optimize their children genetically because of the possibility that they might lose their souls in the process.   Click here to find out more about them.

The Characters. Requiem of the Human Soul is filled with other unforgettable characters beyond Eusebio Franklin.   There’s Harry Shields – Eusebio’s merciless prosecutor – and of course Naomi Aramovich, the Primal Rights activist.   There are Eusebio’s family and the people he meets on the way.   Not to mention the great Dr. Julius Schumacher and the other people involved in the founding of the Humanist community.   Click here to meet them all.

The Primals/d-Humans. In the 22nd century there’s not one, but two, human species.   Most people are d-Humans, genetically enhanced in both mind and body.   Then there are the Primals, un-enhanced humans, just like us… Click to find out more about the Primals and d-Humans.

The Soul. It’s called Requiem of the Human Soul, but what soul are we actually talking about?   An immortal soul that goes to heaven?   Or something completely different?   Click here to investigate.

The Prefrontal Cortex. What’s a part of the brain doing in a website about a novel set in the late 22nd century?  Well, Dr. Julius Schumacher had a theory about how the dominance of the prefrontal cortex is a major factor in world history (as well as our future history).  Click here to see what he’s talking about.

The Future Timeline. How did we ever get from here to Eusebio’s world of the late 22nd century?   The Future Timeline will show you the path we’re on…

Future Articles. It all seemed so reasonable at the time… Check out the future magazine and newspaper articles to see how the different steps from here to the future all seemed so perfectly normal when they occurred.

March 4, 2010 Posted by | News Updates, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Requiem named finalist to 2009 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards

I was happy to hear today that Requiem of the Human Soul was named one of the finalists in the Science Fiction category of the 2009 Reader Views Awards.

Here’s the review of the book by Reader Views from August 2009 by Paige Lovitt:

In the late 22nd century, earth is ruled by d-humans.  These are people who have been genetically designed.  Seen as superior beings, they view the primals, people who have been unaltered, as genetically inferior and frail.  Primals are susceptible to getting diseases and genetic disorders.  While d-humans might seem superior, somewhere along the way, they seem to have lost their soul.

When the UN proposes PEPS (Proposed Extinction of the Primal Species), primal Eusebio Franklin is chosen to defend the primals to allow their existence to continue.  Having to review the often times violent history of primals, Eusebio gets questioned about their responsibility in the massacre of indigenous people and the forced extinction of species of animals.  While history doesn’t look good for the primals a renegade group called the Rejectionists help Eusebio to see what the d-humans are up to.  As with incidents that have taken place throughout our history that have murdered and wronged many, the d-humans don’t seem to be much different.  They just seem to have better control over enforcing their goals.  The Rejectionists offer Eusebio an opportunity to help save the future of the primals, but in taking action, Eusebio will be responsible for killing millions – including himself.

Eusebio has much to decide.  Relying mainly on his heart and his love for his people, he tries to do what is right.  He is an extremely spiritual soul who values the wisdom passed down from his ancestors.   This makes Eusebio seem much more evolved than the d-humans.

“Requiem of the Human Soul” is incredibly deep and thought-provoking.  The story is so much more than a fictional novel.  Being that the book is set in the future, Eusebio would actually be representing me because I am a primal.  Looking at the plot from this perspective really added to how I viewed the story and our violent history.  It seems silly that Eusebio is on trial for atrocities committed by his ancestors, yet this attitude is pervasive today with many cultures and there are many people killing others in the name of their gods.  Also, even though Eusebio was not physically genetically superior to the others, his soul made him so.  Even though they might try, the soul is something that cannot be created by science.  I highly recommend this novel, “Requiem of the Human Soul” by Jeremy R. Lent. I think that people who have interests in bio-ethics will really enjoy it.

February 17, 2010 Posted by | News Updates, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Achieves a near flawless rhythm as the narrative builds. His prose… is as gifted as it is fearless”

By Norm Goldman of The American Chronicle

On first glimpse, you might very well have considered Requiem of the Human Soul strictly a work of science fiction, however, Jeremy R. Lent has gone much further. He has constructed complex characters while probing the deepest reaches of their minds. To boot, Lent´s technical brilliance is awesome yet jarring as he permits each of his characters fashion a distinct radically different resolution while the reader is left to become the ultimate judge.

The setting is the late twenty-second century and Eusebio Franklin, a high school history teacher from the small community of Tuckers Corner is abducted by two d-humans, Harry Shields and Naomi Aramovich. Eusebio is a Primal or someone whose human DNA has not been tinkered or enhanced, unlike that of Shields and Aramovich´s DNA. The d-humans blame the Primals for genocides, devastation of indigenous cultures and the utter destruction of earth´s environment, as well as the mass extinction of many species of animals.

As a result, the United Nations has constituted a special hearing called The Proposed Extinction of the Primal Species (PEPS) that has been in existence for several years debating whether the Primals should be eliminated from the earth due to the past atrocious behavior of their ancestors.

At the time of the hearings there were seven billion d-humans in the world and three billion Primals. Aramovich and her fellow Primal Rights activists have chosen Eusebio to defend his race. Aramovich assumes the role of Eusebio´s defence attorney wile Shields is acting as the prosecuting attorney.

Shields divulges to Eusebio that the PEPS´s proposal is quite human, honest and legitimate. They are following due process and furthermore they are not acting like the Primals of the twenty-first century, saying one thing in the UN while permitting the exact opposite to happen in the real world. Basically, the plan involves changing the world by doing away with some of its innocent inhabitants. To accomplish this feat, a compound called Isotope 909 will be released and there will be a partial sterilization of the ovaries of all Primal women around the world. However, this will in no way affect d-human women. Furthermore, as it will only be partial sterilization, Primals, who have not had a child, will still be able to give birth once. The Primal species will eventually fade away, and this will be the final solution to the “Primal Question.” As soon as the Primal population reaches about twenty-five thousand, they will be safely placed in enclosed reservations. They won´t entirely disappear, as cloning techniques will be used to keep the Primal population stable.

While the hearing is unfolding, Eusebio receives a visit from the mysterious Yusef who calls himself a freedom fighter of the human race and who warns him that the hearing is a farce and he shouldn´t take part in it. He also reveals to Eusebio that he is a Rejectionist or d-humans who have refused to go along with the treaty known as the Global Aggression Limitation Treaty (GALT). This treaty, signed after the Great Global Wars, gave the UN global policing power with a full-time army. However, according to Yusef, GALT was in fact the struggle for the human race.

Eusebio wrestles with many challenging questions and soon realizes that there are no simplistic solutions. Is possible to defend the past actions of the Primals from a moral or ethical perspective? What does it mean to be human? Should humanity be given a second chance? Does anyone have the right to play God and alter DNA even if it means improving ourselves? What about our souls? If we do in fact believe in the human soul, would it survive if the DNA is modified? And above all, if Eusebio were asked to commit murder on a massive scale, would he agree to it if it meant saving the human race?

This is a cleverly crafted debut novel that achieves a near flawless rhythm as the narrative builds. There is a great deal of confusion and complexity here as Lent refrains from making his characters conduits for right and wrong. His prose mixed in with a healthy dose of science fiction is as gifted as it is fearless leaving readers in a state of exhaustion but surprisingly exhilarated to have the opportunity to partake in this most unusual hearing. Perhaps this was Lent’s objective? If so, he has succeeded admirably.

Click Here To Read Norm’s Interview With Jeremy R. Lent

February 5, 2010 Posted by | Reviews | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A gripping read that will keep readers up at night”

Review by Holly Chase Williams from Foreword Clarion Reviews

Five Stars

It is one of the great travesties of the human experience that violence is often perpetrated by those claiming to follow Jesus, Mohammed, and other spiritual leaders who advocated peace. Therefore, the premise of this novel, a genetic manipulation that deselects the twin capacities for spiritual belief and fanatical intolerance (aggression) in new humans, might seem like a wonderful idea. Except that in the process, these designer Humans may be losing their souls.

In the d-Human world of genetic pre-selection, the wealthy also have the most happiness, good looks, height, compassion, or whatever characteristic their parents paid for.

Eusebio Franklin, a history teacher in remote Tucker’s Corners who specializes in Native Americana, is forced to make an impassioned defense for the importance of spiritual belief and the future of the remaining three billion of “his” race—a definition that includes any non-genetically altered human. In actual human history, Eusebius was a historian and chronicler of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christ was allegedly buried.

Counsel Naomi Aramovich tells Eusebio that the unaltered “Primals,” “are the global underclass…who could never come close to affording even the most basic genetic enhancement. For the most part, they’re illiterate, starving, and diseased.”

As a member of a tech-avoidant, traditional Humanist community, Eusebio would seem to oppose everything the d-Humans stand for. But should he? What if every d-Human you saw seemed happy, healthy, engaged and purposeful? What if the d-Humans showed you that the vast majority of your fellow “Primals” lived in dire conditions?

Author Jeremy Lent holds a master’s degree in English literature from Emmanuel College in Cambridge, England. His first novel flows quickly but smoothly, pulling the reader into Eusebio’s ethical struggles and his arguments about our direct ancestors’ destruction of cultures, indigenous animals, and entire environments.

While Eusebio grapples with questions about the motives of the lawyers trying his case at the United Nations hearing and the trustworthiness of the mysterious Yusef, who claims to be a freedom fighter for the unaltered minority, readers will pause to consider an even larger question: How responsible are we for the actions of our ancestors? For Eusebio, the ultimate question is: Does humanity deserve another chance?

Requiem of the Human Soul is a gripping read that will keep readers up at night, slurping up the last few pages like a specialty juice from the future world’s neighborhood Betelbar.

February 3, 2010 Posted by | Reviews | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Novel Synopsis

Eusebio Franklin, a school teacher from a small community, is faced with the most terrifying dilemma imaginable: should he carry out an act of mass terrorism in order to save the human race?

The human race is on trial at the United Nations

Eusebio has been chosen to defend our human race in a special session of the United Nations.  It’s the late 22nd century, and most people are genetically enhanced; Eusebio is among the minority that remain unimproved, known as Primals, consisting mostly of the impoverished global underclass.  The UN is on the verge of implementing a “Proposed Extinction of the Primal Species” and Eusebio’s been picked to represent his race in a last ditch legal effort to save the Primals from extinction.

It’s a hearing like no other.   Our human race is on trial.   Our own sordid history – the devastation we’ve caused to indigenous cultures around the world, the destruction of our environment and of other species – becomes evidence in the case against our continued existence.

But as the hearing progresses, Eusebio is faced with a terrible decision.   He’s secretly visited by Yusef who represents the Rejectionists – a renegade group of Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus refusing to accept the d-humans’ genetic optimization because it prevents them from knowing God.  Yusef urges Eusebio to take the only meaningful action to save the human race from extinction: detonate a nuclear bomb hidden in the UN building in New York where the session is taking place.

Eusebio finds himself facing a terrible dilemma

As the story develops to its dramatic climax, Eusebio finds himself increasingly alienated from the d-human world, while Yusef’s plot places him in an agonizing moral dilemma: whether to engage in an act of nuclear terrorism to preserve the human race.

In this novel, the reader faces challenging questions about spirituality, history and global politics: Could our race “evolve” itself to a higher plane?   At what cost and benefit?   If we lost what is now the “human race” as a result, would that be so bad, given our sordid and shameful history?   On the other hand, is there something special, our soul, worth keeping at any price?   Ultimately, the novel forces the reader to grapple with the fundamental question: what does it mean to be human?

January 21, 2010 Posted by | Synopsis | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment