Saturday, August 20, 2016

Progenesis, by J.L. Forrest

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(Transhuman SF) The world doesn't react well to Tom and Samantha's new technology, and their labs around the world are attacked. So they speed up their plans for human testing. (9,080 words; Time: 30m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆, Not Recommended

"Progenesis," by , appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact issue 10|16, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

The story suffers from too many challenges to disbelief.
  • It's not clear why the nanotech enhancements require killing the original body. 
  • The photosynthesis efficiency is beyond what thermodynamics allows
  • Samantha's upgrades are too good to believe, particularly when they come with no drawbacks at all. 
  • The vulnerability to a shot under the jaw seems too contrived. 
  • The enemy is way, way too well-organized to believe. 
  • The evil Reverend Jacob is too evil to believe; letting us know he's gay right before Tom kills him leaves the impression that the author thinks gay people are particularly nasty and well-worth killing. (No tears are shed over the innocent young man killed with him.) 
  • The general incompetence of US law enforcement is hard to believe, just as it's hard to believe Tom gets away with mass murder at the end.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I read that story and I concur. It looks like Forrest ripped off "The Transhumanist Wager," by Zoltan Istvan.

    At least Samantha didn't run off into the mountains and create an ice castle with her superpowers.

    1. I haven't read that one. I read Wikipedia's summary, and I can see the similarity; they both seem to reduce to: couple with transhumanist agenda run afoul of zealots in a US that's gotten more religious, so they retreat to a secret hideout, where they redouble their efforts; a philosophical difference between the couple threatens their success as the final showdown with the fundamentalists looms.

      That said, here at RSR we usually care more about how well a story is told than we do about how original it is. There's room in the world for more than one writer to tell the same story.