Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: "Heirs of Mars," by Joseph Robert Lewis

Joseph Robert Lewis merges paranormal romance with classic science fiction in "Heirs of Mars." His main character Asher's paranormal ability is grafting a living person's memories onto a lifelike android body. Nevermind that Asher uses science to do this; the results are paranormal. The government has decided the dying Mars colony cannot survive without saving the memories of their doctors and scientists this way, but that doesn't mean the flesh and blood citizens of Mars will accept these androids. Quite the contrary, they fear and reject these machines that have the feelings and memories of people.

Danger comes from another side, too. In movie terms, "Heirs of Mars" is like "The 6th Day" combined with "Blade Runner to meet "Terminator 2." The mechanism that puts living people's memories onto androids is like in "The 6th Day." These androids are no more welcome in society than those in "Blade Runner." The danger from another side resembles Sky Net from "Terminator II." Like the Terminator series and Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot,"  "Heirs of Mars" begs the question: What if human memories can be grafted onto computers and then computers themselves become sentient? Would this be paradise or hell? Before you laugh, the human memories being grafted onto computers part is closer to reality than you might think.

The love story (yes, there is one and it rocks!) is like no other. It starts out bittersweet and has many unexpected twists and turns. I don't want to tell more than that. I don't want to spoil the love story.

What I have just told you should help you keep all the characters straight as you read this gripping story. The point of view keeps shifting. Many comments at Amazon say this is annoying, but I was fascinated to read the story from all the different points of view, including those of the minions of this story's version of Sky Net. Some comments say the story moves too quickly, without enough setting information or scene description. I disagree. I think this is a plus rather than a minus. Everything is through the eyes of characters in the story. This helps us understand the characters better.

Ray Bradbury died recently, so I cannot ask him to back me up on this, but I think he would love this Mars story. That is saying a lot! I read "The Martian Chronicles" in the 1970s, when I was a teen. "Heirs of Mars" is as good, or dare I say it, even better.

1 comment:

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