I am the blade that is swung by your hand,
Slicing a rainbow’s arc,
I am the clapper; but you are the bell,
Tolling the gathering dark.
If you are the singer, then I am the song,
A threnody, requiem dirge.
You’ve made me the answer for all the world’s need,
Humanity’s undying urge.~ “Threnody,” from the collected works of H.S. Socrates
First as always i hope everyone is safe. Second, i hope everyone had an indulgent and superlative holiday season heading into the New Year! Third, i decided i wanted to write a book review since i haven’t in quite some time and given the number of books i have read recently figured hey lets do a book review!
This review deserves a little context. My middle progeny was assigned this book for a winter break reading assignment. i believe it is important to take an interest in your progenies’ activities and well reading is definitely one to promote and take interest. Thus when i was talking to her about what she was assigned, she said, “i think you will like this book.” She handed it to me, and i opened it to this page:
“It is the most difficult thing a person can be asked to do. And know what it is for the greater good doesn’t make it any easier. People used to die naturally. Old age used to be a terminal affliction, not a temporary state. There were invisible killers called “diseases” that broke the body down. Aging couldn’t be reversed, and there were accidents from which there was no return. Planes fell out from the sky. Cars actually crashed. There was pain, misery, and despair. It’s hard for most of us to imagine a world so unsafe, with dangers lurking in every unseen, unplanned corner. All of that is behind us now, and yet a single simple truth remains: People must die.”
~ From the gleaning journal of H.S. Currie
My daughter knows me well. So i said ok let us read it together but don’t think this is a race I’ll probably have this book finished in a week.
Ok this had my attention. So immediately i thought of Soylent Green meets Logan’s Run but there is a twist. In reading the back cover it paraphrases a world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things and has even conquered death. However, who are these scythes that are mentioned, and are the only ones who can “glean” life? So with the context out of the way let us get down to business.
The cover above depicts a Scythe. As most know or should know from Websters we have the following definition:
scythe (pronounced /sīT͟H/)
noun: a tool used for cutting crops such as grass or wheat, with a long curved blade at the end of a long pole attached to which are one or two short handles.
verb: cut with a scythe as in scythed.
Given many aspects of our so-called society today and social normalizations i believe this is a wonderful teenage adventure novel that sets the stage for some more esoteric readings in science fiction such as 1984, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Brave New World, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep (DADOES), Snowcrash and Neuromancer.
The book’s premise is that humans now exist in a conflict-free world where human-kind have conquered death. The world they live in is a Post Age of Morality world where one no longer has true crimes against humanity; poverty is not an issue, and hunger is solved via synthetic food engineering. As such over-population has overrun Mother Earth and elected Scythes must cull the human population. This culling process is known in the vernacular as “gleaning”. The Age of Mortality is the duration of time before the scythedom, revival centers, and the Thunderhead were established.
To this end, artificial intelligence has been amplified via the “ThunderHead” which monitors, recommends, and predicts AllTheThings. As such, there is no need for the concept or construction of a government.
Tyger shrugged, “One Splat Too Many. They gave up. Now I am a ward of the ThunderHead.”
“I’m sorry Tyger”
“Hey don’t be. Believe it or not, the ThunderHead’s a better father than my father was. I get good advice now and get asked how my day was from someone who actually seems to care.”
Just like everything else about the ThunderHead its parenting skills were indisutable.~ Apprentice Rowan
Two teens find themselves volunteered as apprentice-Scythes which leads to a world of corruption greed and the finality of death.
Scythes are volunteered as apprentices and taught the ways of all of the classics, philosophy, chemistry (poisons), neural linguistic programming (person-reading), and of course, skilled in all the ways one can end a person’s life or if you will extreme social engagement called “killcraft”.
Scyhtes choose which lives to glean based on statistics of past Age Of Morality morbidity rates and behaviors, social class, and ethnicities. They however cannot show bias.
Scythes are ruled by a worldwide committee and meet on a quarterly basis where concerns are raised, appretences are tested, and old friendships are renewed. Did i mention that humans now live indefinitely and can rewind physical age and appearance to no lower than 21? However, given that most Sychtes choose ages between 35-45.
The Scythes lived by the following commandments:
- Thou Shalt Kill
- Thou shalt kill with no bias, bigotry or malice of afterthought
- Thou shalt grant an annum of immunity to the beloved of those who accept your coming and to anyone else you deem worthy.
- Thou shalt kill the beloved of those who resist.
- Thou shalt serve humanity for the full span of thy days and thy family shall have immunity as recompense for as long as you live.
- Thou shalt lead an exemplary life in word and deed and keep a journal of each and every day.
- Thou shalt kill no scythe beyond thyself.
- Thou shalt claim no earthly possessions save thy robe, ring and journal.
- Thou shalt have neither spouse or spawn.
- Thou shalt be beholden to no laws beyond these.
So we must ask ourselves that if in fact we solve all the so called woes of the Human Condition will we solve the root cause of the Human Condition? If we take away mortality (and morality) and can save and upload our memories then what is meant to be Human? Passion and Lust (of life)? Is compassion still needed?
Upon giving me the book to read my daughter laughed and said “Daddy maybe you are one.”
Then again, reflecting on what my daughter said to me when she was referencing the text, at the core maybe we all are Sycthes.
So if your in the market for a good book for your children or you just want a quick read that will be a good catalyst for your thoughts for our future, pick this book up. Here i even will provide the link to the ThunderHead Book Club In The Sky. Note: this is book one of a triology.
#iwishyouwater <- some footage from the recent 50 year storm on the left coast.
Muzak To Blog By: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Valery Abisalovich Gergiev conducting the Vienna Philharmonic. Spectacular piece Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, also known as the Pathétique Symphony (a.k.a. The Passionate Symphony). I recently got to see this performed by the Charleston Symphony with Jonathan Heyward conducting it was spectacular. I was sitting there thinking how someone who has certain sexual proclivities or other passions in their life that at the time were not tolerated in society could create such a work of art; then again, it just goes to show the extreme lengths humans will go to make their true passions as it were, incarnate. i also think it very ironic that this composer would probably not trend in the position of Tchaikovsky due to his political beliefs, but one never knows, does one?