Requiem of the Human Soul

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

The face of 22nd century warfare… happening today

According to the American military, 23 Afghan civilians were killed in February by a group of people sitting at a console in Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.  How could that happen?  Because these people were operating the Predator drones that have caused such controversy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Predator drones: heralding the face of 22nd century warfare

Look out,world… this is the way warfare is going to be conducted in the future as increasingly advanced technology allows more sophisticated interfaces to be developed.  The logic is powerful.  Why should you risk the lives of your own people when you can accomplish the same ends by technology?  It’s the same logic that leads to the use of robots when possible in examining and disarming suspected terrorist bombs.

But, sensible as the logic may be, we’re going to enter a world where the lives and deaths of civilians will ultimately be decided by the cost/benefit trade-offs of programmers working away in the abstract world of mathematics, completely divorced from the reality of the ground.

In my book, Requiem of the Human Soul, there’s a scene that portrays the face of 22nd century warfare.  The troops fighting the terrorists are called GE troopers, (standing for GALT  Enforcement – a 22nd century global treaty to limit human aggression by genetic means).  They’re fighting the Rejectionists, people who reject this global treaty on religious grounds.  And, plus ca change, the fighting is still going in the Pakistan/Afghanistan border, this time in a little community called Pannakot, in the Chitral Valley.  But the GE troopers aren’t really there – they use virtual reality units (or VRUs) which they’re operating from the comfort of Nashville, Tennessee.

And it’s a lot more comfortable when you’re fighting from your home town.  As one of the troopers tells the book’s hero, Eusebio:

Sure, pal, that’s where the whole 4-21 regiment is located.  We have a giant virtual reality center outside Nashville.  We’re all there right now, in our skins, hunting down Rejos in the Chitral Valley.  It sure beats doing it in person.  At the end of the day, we go have a drink with the guys, enjoy our kids at home.  I’ve got a six-year old.  I wouldn’t miss him growing up for anything.

Eusebio, is there with the GE troopers in the Chitral Valley virtually, wearing a VRU himself.  He’s on a mission to see what is really going on in the sanitized world of genetically enhanced humans.  And what he sees disgusts him.  It’s the face of warfare in the 22nd century.

Click here to read the excerpt from the book in a pdf file.

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May 29, 2010 Posted by | The 22nd century | , , , | 1 Comment

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 | , , , , , , | 1 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

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

“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

“One of the greatest independently published science fiction novels of our time.”

Review by Eric Jones from BookReview.com

Rating: Excellent

There is no medium that captures the human soul better than music. That’s right; music. That’s why I’m always dubious about books that come across my desk with the word “soul” in the title, already it seems that the author has taken on too much. So I was surprised to find that Jeremy R. Lent’s “Requiem of the Human Soul” was not about the human soul at all, but about race. A Phillip K. Dick-esque run through a post-modern world where humans are seen as inferior to a new super-race, and next in line for a final solution.

It’s clear from the get-go that Lent knows his craft. His future world of the genetically enhanced d-humans is stunningly rendered with thought given to nearly every facet of their technologically enhanced culture to make them seem as real as any corporation that might exist today. Eusebio Franklin, a school teacher living in what’s known as a “humanist community”, is unacquainted with these stark societal advances, and makes the perfect vessel through which our own unacquainted eyes to inhabit and gaze in wonder. Still, Lent lends little time to gazing, since there is some serious business at hand. Franklin has been chosen to represent the last of the natural humans in a debate on whether they should be weeded out of d-human society by selective sterilization which would render them unable to breed. A humane genocide, if you will.

Eusebio is forced to undertake a series of excruciating virtual reality tours which force him to experience some of the atrocities of humanity’s past. Then answer questions hurled at him by a sly lawyer named Henry Shields, who proves to be an antagonist just as worthy as Dr. Zeus to Charlton Heston’s role of Taylor in “Planet of the Apes”. At first Shields seems indomitable, and with a strength of conviction that makes even Eusebio unsure of humanity’s right to prevail. In Shields, the book’s underlying themes of racism are fleshed out.

Lent’s masterful structuring effectively puts humanity in the position of any race that’s ever been discriminated against for being different, and forces the reader, through Eusebio, to bear witness to our own checkered history as justification for its current predicament. The Nazi’s “Final Solution” is referred to in direct reference to the d-human’s PEPS proposal which will sterilize the remaining un-augmented humans. Eusebio is forced to live out a virtual reality experience as a Native American during the massacre at Sand Creek, Colorado in 1864. Given such suffocating prejudice, it becomes no surprise later when Eusebio makes the uncharacteristic turn to terrorism in defense of his people, unable to gain any ground diplomatically with Sheilds.

The question of whether or not humanity has a soul becomes the unwitting bottom line in these sessions although, in my opinion, it is the book’s weakest point. Although the chapters are punctuated to great effect by lyrics from songs like Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and John Lennon’s “Mind Games” and speaks to musicians’ faithful capturing of the human soul, the story can’t quite compete. Eusebio’s case comes down to proving that humans without genetic augmentation, or “Primals”, are the only ones with actual souls. Not souls in a metaphoric or religious context, since the book doesn’t seem to inhabit such circles, but a scientifically viable soul. His quest to find such proof seems to bypass the central theme of racism and places d-humans in the position of soulless aliens rather than a dominating race. And since the soul, I would say, doesn’t exist scientifically it would seem that the connection between Lent’s world and our own is broken here. Not to mention that there is a much better argument for Eusebio to make in counter to Shield’s constant condemnation of Primals that he misses completely by chasing down the soul.

The human-d are a young race. Their creation and rise to power are cleverly documented in sub-chapters that take the form of various news and texts on genetic enhancement and the winds of social change that underscore the novel’s themes of science and race. But while Eusebio is attacked for his people’s history of genocide he neglects to mention that the human-d are on the road to creating just such a history themselves with their PEPS initiative. (I will admit that Eusebio’s council, Naomi, mentions it in passing, but only to change the subject of Shield’s questioning. Not as a defense.) The central line of Lent’s novel comes from Shield’s after the Native American massacre. He says, “Which soul is it, exactly, that the PEPS proposal would be eliminating? The soul of those brave white men who destroyed the American Indians, mutilating their corpses? Or the soul of the indigenous people?” Rather than answer, Eusebio listens to his council and Shields debate over the question. This is the question that never really gets answered in “Requiem of the Human Soul”, rather it devolves into one of whether or not the soul actually exists, and if so, does it exist in the human-d as well? Those answers, and their meaning, I’ll leave for you to discover in the amazing future world of “Requiem”.

Please forgive my venture into thematic analysis. It is a testament to the lofty aspirations of “Requiem” and the amazing heights to which is soars in reaching for them. Ambitious in nature and meticulous in design, “Requiem of the Human Soul” is one of the greatest independently published science fiction novels of our time. Rather than creating a fun diagram of future events that speculate on processes to come, Lent does what any good writer of sci-fi should do. He speaks to our current culture through the use of a future where self is not assured, where terrorism is called policy, and peace is only a silent war against humanity. With the canons turned against us, what hope is left but for the triumph of the human soul?

January 22, 2010 Posted by | Reviews | , , | Leave a comment