The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Published September 1st 2009 by Square Fish (first
published April 29th 2008)
Science and technology. Advances in medicine. These are suppose to be governed by logic and reason. Yet their existence was founded by hope. Every day someone, somewhere hopes and prays for a cure, for a way, for a life. Lose a limb? They can give you a false one. It's not the same but it lessens the feeling of loss. An organ fails? You get in line for a new one. You may get it and maybe, just maybe it'll take to the rest of you. Those that make the discoveries, claim great strides. For those who are waiting, will it ever catch up with the hope?
In a future, science has developed a fix all. Bio gel, a neurochip laden, oxygenated substance that mimics human cells, only more efficiently, and can condition themselves to perfectly replicate real cell action. They can become whatever they are told to be. Not just a new arm, your arm. Not a donor heart, your heart. We can now completely replace any part that is diseased or damaged. With this new technology, we could completely rebuild a human and to tether that ability, the government has sanctioned that only up to 49% of a person can be replicated. Brain cells are forbidden. There must still be boundaries. We must still have an expiration date.
A terrible accident should have cost Jenna her life, as it did the other victims of the accident. No one could have survived it. Maybe no one really did. There shouldn't be anything left of her. Maybe there really isn't.
Don't you just love the dystopian genre? It's like reading a horror story, a sci-fi and a conspiracy theory all in one. It's conceivability is the scary part. The way it so closely mimics our own reality blurs the line on fiction and the fact that you could really imagine this happening makes you question whether or not it already has. I get so caught up in these stories I almost forget that the neighbors are not really zombie/alien/robots- well maybe mine are.
Jenna's story is full of questions. Could this happen? Should this happen? And maybe even a hopeful, "When will this happen?" The myriad of ethical issues raised are interwoven into a family's understandable sense of desperation. If you could save your child or loved one? Government regulations and moral responsibility be damned. You'd do it. Are we such selfish creatures that we would jeopardize the very humanity of the human race to save the one person that means the most to us and us alone? Yes, but I prefer to believe it's because our capacity to love trumps reason every time.
"One small changed family doesn't calculate into a world that has been spinning for a billion years. But one small change makes the world spin differently in a billion ways for one family."
Excellent story of self-discovery. For Jenna it's both real and replicated, and how you have to learn to except who and what you are, even though you may not like what you find out. Even in a future where so much of a person can, in essence, be faked, the part or us that is us doesn't change.
Ms. Pearson has written a sequel of sorts, The Fox Inheritance, that tells Kara and Locke's story (I won't tell you who they are so that I don't spoil anything) that is set to be released in August of this year. In the meantime, has anyone read any of her other work? I'm inclined to believe that she produces only good things.