Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Presence

Author:  Paul Black
Published by Novel Instincts Publishing, 2010
Review written by Jesse Howard
    Paul Black sets this, his fourth novel, in the near future, never leaving the twenty-first century.

    For insight in the setting we only need to look at Black’s acknowledgements in which he thanks websites such as Social (for future technologies and trends),
Nasa News and the Langly Research Center website for its papers on future technology. He has carefully woven futuristic technology into a believable world where people are connected both socially and physically to this new technology, much of which is based on genetics. The characters’ watch will tell not only blood pressure and heart rate, but also cholesterol and other information about the wearer’s health. 
    As you would expect, virtual reality plays an important part in this new world. Law enforcement uses computers for web presence and virtual reality to track and find criminals.
One of the main characters, Sonny Chaco is investigating criminal activity, bringing him into contact with Deja Morioraty, leading to one of the novel’s romances.
through Deja, Chaco meets Corizone Goya, the cloned wife of the main suspect in the investigation.

    Chaco also gradually becomes aware of another presence who seems to be living through computers. This character, Marl, claims to be trying to save the human race which has become withdrawn and careless.  Because most body parts may be repaired or replaced, humans take dangerous risks and no longer understand the importance of their bodies.  Chaco has other ideas about Marl, thinking perhaps he is a threat to the existence of humankind.
    In order to understand humankind, Marl befriends the clone, Corizone who, at only three years old looks at the world with a new perspective yet because she has the memories and experiences of her husband’s dead wife, Corizone also has the wisdom and maturity of an adult.
    Even though the theme is somewhat transparent, in The Presence, Paul Black has written a fast-paced and interesting novel with a new perspective on an age-old story.  
While it might help to be interested in science fiction to be drawn toward reading The Presence, but it is much more than mere science-fiction.  Anyone interested in studying the human condition would gain insight from this book.  Due to the many religious overtones, it would also be a good study book for churches or people interested in human origins and the presence of God in our world.  I think it would be interesting to attend a study group on The Presence.
    Paul Black’s The Presence, won the Writers’ Digest Award and is one of four books written in the same setting though this story is separate from the others which are a trilogy.  I haven’t yet read the others but based on this one, I plan on reading the other two.

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