Requiem of the Human Soul

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

The yellow brick road to d-humans

Many readers of my novel, Requiem of the Human Soul, tell me that the 22nd century scenario it paints of genetically optimized humans controlling our world is disturbing precisely because it seems so realistic.  I wasn’t trying to create a dystopia in the novel – a gloomy future scenario of our world – but rather a realistic portrayal of where our global society will end up if we continue on the our current trends.

I see three stages of evolution towards the full blown genetically optimized d-humans in the late 22nd century.  In the book, they’re referred to as d1, d2 and d3, as follows:

D1 humans could be with us as soon as 2030, only a couple of decades from now.  They’re simply babies that have been screened for genetic diseases, and who have had their genes optimized for good health when a troubling gene is discovered in the very early stages of fetal development.

[Click here to read an article (excerpted from the novel) in the New York Journal, September 29, 2044, called “Matterhorn Insurance plays genetic favorites.]

D2 humans begin to emerge a couple of generations from now.  They represent the commercialization of genetic enhancement, when genes are optimized not just for health, but also for intelligence, beauty and physical prowess.  In the novel, the first designer babies are produced in offshore havens, where the stricter rules against designer babies that exist in most countries can be circumvented.  Then, as they get increasingly popular, domestic rules are relaxed and it becomes the norm for well-to-do middle-class parents to design their babies in advance.

[Click here to read an article (excerpted from the novel) in Wealth Monthly, June 11, 2069, entitled “The New Offshore Baby Boom.”]

Finally, d3 humans come on the scene around the beginning of the 22nd century.  In addition to all the d2 designer-baby enhancements, they’re also neurologically optimized for enhanced character and better personalities.  Only, d3 humans come with strings attached.  In the early 22nd century, the world is just recovering from the Great Global Wars, the worst devastation in human history, that arose from the ravages of climate change.  Everyone agrees “never again,” and this time they can actually do something about.  So a UN law is passed that d3 humans must have their gene-sets for aggression and doctrinal beliefs subordinated in the gene expression hierarchy – thus creating a world that, theoretically at least, will never cause the destruction that we unenhanced humans – or Primals – have unceasingly brought upon ourselves.

[Click here to read an article in Harper Atlantic Magazine, dated February 2117, featuring a speech from Juan Jose Gonzalez, the newly appointed Chairman of the United Nations Governing Council, on the new way forward for global peace and prosperity.]

The graphic below shows the three stages of how humans evolve into d-humans.  Click it for a larger version, or click here for a pdf version.

The three stages of evolution from human to d-human

May 11, 2010 Posted by | genetic engineering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear terror attack devastates Columbus, OH in 2063

“We are drifting towards a catastrophe beyond comparison,” said President Obama on Tuesday, quoting Albert Einstein to a session of 47 heads of state and other dignitaries convened for the first time in history to combat nuclear terrorism.  Obama has identified the possibility of nuclear terror as the greatest threat to the security of the United States, and my novel, Requiem of the Human Soul, describes a scenario showing how this awful catastrophe could actually play out.

In Requiem, by the middle of the 21st century, the threat of Al-Qaeda has long been forgotten.  But that doesn’t mean that the threat of nuclear terror has evaporated.  Instead, by mid-century, the world is embroiled in an escalating battle between the haves and the have-nots of the globalized world community, as the effects of climate change put the kabosh on global stability and squelch the expectation of rising prosperity for the billions of middle-class consumers in developing countries.

The oil industry is sued for leaving lakes of oil where once there was arable land

The Class Action to Rectify Global Injustice, or CARGI, filed in the International Court of Justice in the Hague, becomes the central rallying cry for those who have been left out of the global bargain as access to natural resources begins to deteriorate.  A rash of lawsuits is filed against the United States and European nations for allowing their multinational corporations to commit crimes against the less developed people of the world.   The oil industry is sued for leaving lakes of black oil where there had once been arable land.   The bottled water industry is sued for buying up all the fresh water rights, drying up reservoirs and leaving local people without water to drink.

Meanwhile, the United States will have none of it.   They threaten to pull out of the United Nations, the World Bank and just about every other global institution unless all charges against their multinationals are dismissed.   Americans can no longer travel to developing countries without armed guards.   The Europeans try to broker a middle ground but fail.

Downtown Columbia is devastated by a terrorist nuclear explosion in 2063

That’s when disaster strikes.   In October 2063, as Columbus Day is being celebrated and the people of Columbus, Ohio enjoy their long weekend, digging into their brunch or settling down to watch the sports on TV, a nuclear bomb explodes in their downtown.

Over fifty thousand people are instantly killed.   A hundred thousand others wounded and devastated by radiation sickness.   The shining towers and proud skyscrapers of downtown Columbus are incinerated into a red-hot, radioactive crater containing two square miles of melted steel and pulverized concrete.

The Citizens Seeking Global Justice, a group nobody had heard of before or since, claims responsibility along with an awful threat: if the United States don’t recognize and participate in the CARGI lawsuit, an even bigger nuclear explosion will take place in a major city exactly one year later.

[Read the ultimatum sent by Citizens Seeking Global Justice to the people of the United States after the nuclear explosion at Columbus]

The US announces it will no longer avoid CARGI at the International Court of Justice in the Hague

The Department of Homeland Security does everything imaginable to find the perpetrators.   Everyone in the U.S. has to register with the Department and wear a tag so they can be monitored by satellite wherever they go.   Every financial transaction, no matter how small, is registered and analyzed.   But they are never found.

In solidarity with the United States, the International Court of Justice suspends all CARGI hearings for a year.   Terror grips the people of the United States as the anniversary of Columbus draws near.

A week before the year is up, the United States announces they will no longer boycott the International Court of Justice.   They have  re-joined the global community.   The United States has blinked.   They never hold the same power in the world from that day on.

[Read more about the Class Action to Rectify Global Injustice on Requiem‘s official website.]

April 14, 2010 Posted by | Nuclear terror | , , , | 1 Comment

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.

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

How the d-humans took over the world

In Requiem of the Human Soul, our world is ruled by the d-humans, designer humans who are healthier, better looking and smarter than us mere Primals, or unenhanced humans.  The book’s set in the late 22nd century, over 150 years from now.  But how do we get there from our present world?

In these extracts from the PEPS archives (not found in the novel), the novel’s hero, Eusebio, tells us how Naomi, (his d-human advocate), first told him about how the d-humans had taken over the world from the Primals.

Because he’d spent his whole life in the “time capsule” of Tuckers Corner, Eusebio knew virtually nothing about recent history.   Although he was a history teacher, his topics were the indigenous groups of the world before they were conquered by the West.

But Naomi Aramovich soon brought him up to date…

North America

“In North America, Primals are no more than 15% of the population.  The majority live in inner city ghettoes, and are virtually all either black or Hispanic.  They couldn’t afford the early genetic optimization technologies that began to define the d-human species.  The gap quickly became unbridgeable.   The same was true for the predominantly white Primal communities in the less developed parts of North America, such as the Appalachian mountains and the bayous of Mississippi, as well as other marginalized communities such as American Indians still living on their reservations.

The few other Primal societies that still existed in North America were groups that had chosen to opt out of the d-humanization of society.   Most were driven by fundamentalist religious philosophies.   There were various Christian sects, who had split with the mainstream of their religion when, one by one, their established Christian denominations had proclaimed that the genetic optimization of the human race was consistent with Christianity.  There were the extreme right-wing survivalists and conspiracy theorists in Idaho and South Dakota who refused to participate in the d-humanization of their offspring.   There were the extremists of the other side of the political spectrum, who lived off the land, maintaining environmentally-friendly communities.   Then there is my own community of Humanists.”

China

“In China, Naomi explained, over 90% of the population was d-human.   Primal communities consisted mostly of backward groups in remote rural locations, or some ghettoes in the major urban areas such as Shanghai and Beijing.   In the mid-21st century, the Chinese government had been the first to institute a national program of enforced d-humanization.  Western countries began to view the Chinese policy as a threat to their global political power, in much the same way that the USSR’s Sputnik space flight technologies in the twentieth century led the USA to re-think its approach to space.

China’s began to enforce the d-panel on all couples in the name of social health and welfare.   It became illegal to have a baby without using the d-panel.   Within a couple of generations, China had succeeded in virtually eliminating many diseases from their society.   This was considered to be one of the greatest steps forward that humanity had ever made.

Later, the government began to enforce the d2 technology: each couple had to choose from a small set of “minimum standards”.   So, new generations of Chinese children grew up who all shared optimal features for a particular socio-economic group – farm-workers’ offspring would be born with greater physical strength and endurance; factory workers’ children would be born with a greater capacity for patience.

As a result, the majority of China’s population are now d2-humans.  The ruling and wealthiest classes in China, perhaps 10% of the population, had the resources to use d-3 genetic enhancement for their children.”

India

In India, the move towards d-humanization had been much more chaotic.   The initial advances were made by the elite, urban, educated classes.   As the d-panel became available on a mass scale, there were efforts by the Indian Government to apply the technology to the entire population, following China’s example.   However, in India’s case, the application was not so successful.   As a result of corruption at the regional level, and conflicts between different villages and castes at the local level, only about 40% of India’s population succesfully used the d-panels.   This led to an ever increasing gap between the living standards of the d-humans and those who were to become known as the Primals.

To make matters worse, many poor families tried to purchase the d-panels on the black market, but received pirated, faulty versions.   This created a new group in Indian society of terribly deformed people, with limbs and organs frequently misshapen.   These people were without a home, abandoned by both the Primals and d-humans alike, forced to wander the countryside, begging for food.

Within a couple of generations, boundary lines became increasingly firm between the d-human towns and villages, and those communities that had never gained access to the d-panel.   These boundaries quickly became embedded in the social structure and caste system.   The two groups began to have less and less to do with each other.   If a Primal entered into a d-human area, he would most likely be lynched, and vice versa.

The d-human communities became increasingly advanced and disease-free.   The wealthier groups  began to utilizing d2 technology to optimize the features of their children.   Meanwhile, the Primal communities stagnated.   Disease became ever more rampant in the society.   Education and social standards declined as the authorities allocated more of their resources to the d-humans.   Corporations would only employ d-humans in their factories and offices, wanting to maintain basic health and efficiency and avoid conflict.

As the difference in living standards widened, the economic gap also widened.   A d-human worker in rural India now earns about twenty times more than a Primal worker in a comparable job.   As a result, Primals are unable to afford to purchase the d-panel technology for their children, even if they were to desire it.

This has led, Naomi explained to me, to the current situation where the two groups, the d-humans and the Primals, share the same country, but share nothing else.   D-human Indian society is a thriving, modernized place, where healthy people pursue their work and culture efficiently and productively.  There is an increasingly large elite class that’s d-3.  Primal Indian society has degenerated to the point of squalor.   The Primal areas of India are ridden with disease and emanate massive pollution.  Their agricultural land is highly inefficient, producing about one tenth of the possible food that d-humans produce from their land.   The Indian cities are divided into d-human and Primal sections.   In the Primal sections, the basic infrastructure has broken down.   Sewage washes through the streets; hunger is everywhere; vermin share the garbage with the impoverished beggars.   Violence is endemic while basic family structures have disintegrated as a result of the hunger, disease and hopelessness of the population.

As the gap between the d-humans and the Primals widened, so did the sense of a shared humanity.   At first, the Indian Government attempted to provide welfare and assistance to those who had failed to access the d-panel technology.   However, within a few generations, the political will to assist the Primals evaporated.   The governing classes were all d-human, and they had been voted into power by d-humans.   It became increasingly expedient and ethically acceptable to regard those who had missed out on the d-panel as a different species, as the Primals, and therefore not deserving the compassion and economic investment that one reserves for ones own species.”

Asia, Africa, South America

While India is the most extreme example of the vast gap between d-humans and Primals, the same is true of most of Asia, Africa and South America, even though significant differences exist country by country.

In Japan, for example, virtually the entire population is d-human; there are almost no Primals to be found.   Singapore is perhaps the only country in the world where there’s literally not a Primal to be found – it’s rumored that those who had not participated in the Government-sponsored d-humanization campaign had been secretly sterilized by the Government.

In the rest of Asia, the situation is similar to that in India, where a massive gap has arisen between d-human and Primal societies.   The d-humans consist of the elite classes and the more prosperous peasants and working classes.   The Primals represent those who had never had the money or political clout to gain access to the original d1 technology, and receive an ever-diminishing share of their country’s resources.   The Primal societies in each country are disease-ridden, overcrowded, violent, polluted and produced barely enough to keep their populations away from starvation.

The same situation exists in the countries of Africa and Latin America.   In each country, the ruling elite is highly advanced and has access to the latest d3 technology.

A significant middle-class enjoys the benefits of d2 technology, where they can customize the features of their offpsring.   Among the working-classes and peasants, the more prosperous have access to d1 technology, and are free of the vast bulk of diseases that had afflicted mankind for time immemorial.

And, in each country, a big minority of the population, lacking the financial resources and outside the circle of corruption and power, labor in their original human form, suffering from disease and hunger, outcasts in the race towards the ever-increasing development and prosperity of the d-humans, who were once their fellow human beings.”

Middle East and Europe

“The Middle East, Naomi explained to me, took a different path.   During the period of d1 genetic enhancement, most of the Arab and Muslim countries had distributed the d-panels through the mosque, rather than through the Government.   From the outset, however, many local imams and mullahs rejected the technology, believing it was part of a Western conspiracy to undermine their genetic make-up, and against the tenets of their faith.

So, although the ruling elites of every country adopted genetic enhancement as it became available, many regions of the Arab world remained completely human.   In more recent generations, a more disturbing development occurred…

When the leaders of the Arab nations and other Muslim countries unanimously adopted GALT , along with all other members of the UN, many d-human Muslims disagreed so profoundly with the principles of this treaty that they vowed to lead an insurrection against their d-human leaders.   These people, who became known as the Rejectionists, viewed the human Muslims in their countries as natural allies.

Finally, Naomi turned to Europe, where the problems were less severe than elsewhere.   Fewer than 10% of the European population were Primals.   As in North America, most Primals comprised inner-city racial minorities in inner cities who had failed to take advantage of the genetic enhancements offered to them by the state.   In Europe, d1 technology had been made  available to everyone through the pan-European national health services.   D2 and d3 technologies were available to all those who could afford it, which was the majority of the population.

Europe is exceptional in one respect, Naomi explained.   It is the only part of the world which continues to offer a full array of health and welfare services to the Primals.   These populations are kept strictly apart from the rest of the d-humans, for public health reasons, but they’re treated relatively humanely.   In Europe, the Primal question has been transformed into an economic problem: over 30% of the region’s GDP is spent on maintaining the Primals, who account for less than 10% of the population.”

March 24, 2010 Posted by | genetic engineering, Synopsis | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Requiem of the Human Soul a finalist in ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards

Well, fresh from coming in second place in the Reader View awards, I was very excited to get the news that Requiem of the Human Soul has made it to the finals in the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year AwardsRequiem is there along with 12 other finalists in the science fiction category, so it’s going to be a challenging final stretch.

ForeWord says the winners will be announced at a special program at BookExpo America in New York City on May 25.  The finalists, they say, “are examples of independent publishing at its best.”

Wish me luck!

March 19, 2010 Posted by | News Updates | , , | Leave a comment

Requiem wins second place in Reader Views Literary Awards

I was excited to hear the news that Requiem of the Human Soul came in second place in the Reader Views Literary Awards for the Science Fiction category.

Here’s the link to the Reader Views awards announcement.

Congratulations to Kelly Beltz, who beat me to first place with the novel Beyond the Stars: Kataria.

March 17, 2010 Posted by | News Updates | , , | 1 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

Re-engineering animals… at the expense of their soul.

In a New York Times op-ed piece today, Adam Shriver proposed a whole new way to mitigate the suffering experienced by farm animals – breed them through genetic engineering so they won’t suffer any more.

In my blog, Tyranny of the Prefrontal Cortex, I’ve written a rebuttal of this idea, called “Animals Suffer? Lobotomize Them!”, where I argue that to do what Shriver proposes would be to destroy the animal’s  soul before they’re even born.

This issue is strikingly similar to one of the major themes of Requiem of the Human Soul – do we risk destroying the soul through genetic engineering?  I’m not talking about the Judeo/Christian/Muslim eternal soul here.  Rather, it’s the essence of a creature that I’m talking about, the soul that arises from the complex dynamic interactions of all aspects of a creature’s existence.

Eusebio visits a 22nd century re-engineered game reserve...

In the book, there’s a scene where the hero, Eusebio, is taken on a visit of a 22nd century game reserve.  The reserve was created using genetically engineered versions of creatures that had, for the most part, become extinct as a result of our 21st century devastation of the natural world.  The d-humans of the late 22nd century are extremely proud of their creation.  At first, Eusebio’s thrilled to experience what he thinks is the natural world.  Then, back at Reserve Central, he discovers that every creature in the reserve is being micro-managed using transmitters and responders genetically engineered into them.  As this sinks in, he begins to realize that he’s been hoodwinked, that in fact he’s just taken part in a 22nd century version of Disneyland.

... but he discovers it's really a 22nd century Disneyland

Here’s a link to a description of this episode on the book’s official website.

What do you think of the issue?  If we can use genetic enhancement to make up for some of the devastation we’ve caused – whether it’s the suffering of farm animals today or the extinction of wildlife next century – should we do so?  If we have the technology to “play God” and fix our own screw-ups, is that the right thing to do?  Or are we just on a ever-accelerating joyride on the human spaceship leaving Planet Earth behind?

Please let me know your thoughts.

February 19, 2010 Posted by | genetic engineering | , , , , | 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