He She and It: Book Review and 99 word flash fiction

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courtesy Amazon.com

This book turned up on my ipad kindle and I don’t know from where or how. I do know I didn’t pay for it so perhaps it was a promotional time on Amazon or perhaps it had been recommended to me via someone else’s review. It is a genre I rarely read and probably never choose to read. It falls into the science fiction category and is classified as a cyberpunk novel. It was written in 1991 and in 1993 won the Arthur C Clarke Award for best science fiction. It was written over 20 years ago and is set in a period of time that we have nearly reached and the frightening thing about it is that Peircy seems to have had a crystal ball allowing her to see accurately into the future.

It is the story of Shira in a post apocolyptic North America run by multi-nationals. She originated in the free state of Tikva (Hebrew for hope) but had worked for a multi J-S, married and had a child, Ari. Her marriage had ended , she had lost her child and she returned to her childhood home and her maternal grandmother, Malkah. She works for the father of her childhood lover in socialising a cyborg, Yod. Malkah had been instrumental in making this cyborg work. All previous had not been able to control their strength but she gave this one a gentler side. The world outside the dome is known as the Glop and here second skins need to be worn to protect from the elements, the people living there are desperate and wild with law non-existent. Gangs rule. A total breakdown of society. Yod assists Shira in stealing Ari back from Y-S and her ex husband. Y-S is determined to get their hands on Yod. This is a story of humanity, what it means to be human, feminism, moral conflicts, joy and sorrow, politics, the Middle East conflicts,post- apocalyptic world, and central to it all is Judaism, which I found enlightening at times.

A secondary story runs through the novel – that of the legend of the Golem in Prague in 1599. The Golem, Joseph, was an artifical being in the form of a man arising from clay due to the work of Rabbi Loew with the purpose of protecting the inhabitants of the ghetto from the pogroms of the day. This story is told by Malkah to Yod and the parallels make you think deeply about what is human as this is presented from the side of the artificial life and from those that love it.

There is so much more to this novel that demonstrates directions that we are currently reaching in our own computer age. I’m very glad that I read and I know it is one that will stay with me for a long time.

This leads into the prompt from Charli’s Carrot Ranch where this week she has asked:

August 17, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that heals America. Difficult and idealistic, I know. Think about building bonds of trust or stories of friendship. It could be a positive story about America. Bonus points for hugging a cat.

Respond by August 29, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published August 30). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Give us a Housewife

The cat flew across the room at the end of Donald’s boot. Maggie hugged her tightly.

“Mum” she screamed. Her mother appeared wiping floury hands onto her apron.

“What’s going on.” She listened. Both children talked, airing their grievances. As the tirade petered out she indicated they should sit. “We’re different yet the same. Let’s communicate, listen and learn. Let’s aim for a home of peace, love and acceptance. Without sanctions that don’t work. Silently she gave thanks for her ban of guns. Donald acted without thinking. They talked. Even Donald listened and learnt.

“Mum, please stand for President.”

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. Commenced a masters by research in 2014.
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11 Responses to He She and It: Book Review and 99 word flash fiction

  1. Irene, you’ve written a terrific review of a book that’s difficult to describe in a few paragraphs. I loved it also, for all the things you mentioned and more. In fact, I may have recommended it to you, though that hardly matters. The Golem of Prague is a very old legend, often told to give people confidence in a future where life will be more fair. I’m glad that the Jewish culture she included didn’t throw you off. I intend to read Woman at the Edge of Time, supposed to be her masterpiece.

    Your flash is wonderful – about time we had a woman president in this country. Actually, she was elected by a large margin, but the electoral college skewed the vote in favor of Mad Man Orange. Moron even looked at the eclipse today after removing his glasses. My husband and I figured he never read the complete NASA instructions to always protect your eyes when looking at an eclipse. Thanks for trying to save us – we’re trying to do the same thing – except for Mad Man Orange who thinks he’s invincible.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes you may well have mentioned it to me. I know I have a number you have recommended that I have already purchased (otherwise they’d be lost on that ever growing list) but it is possible by the time I read them I may have forgotten who recommended them as well. This makes me realise how long we have now known each other via this blog.
      I agree there was so much to this book that I couldn’t deal with everything and there was much that had me thinking of the current state of the world. I actually enjoyed the Jewish culture immensely. I learnt things I didn’t know and it made me wonder at more. I enjoyed also the parallels between the Golem of Prague and Yod and I loved Shira battle with herself and her rationalisations at the end when she found the crystals. This book made me think deeply about not only the story but the other aspects which I think are relevant in our politics today.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. LucciaGray says:

    Love your flash. Often we there’s a big argument at work, family, friends etc. It often just takes a calm person with common sense to help sort things out…if only there were more people like that in all walks of life and if only others stopped to listen…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Charli Mills says:

    Definitely, give us a housewife, the keeper of the peace, for President! Interesting book review, too, Irene. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Stories to Heal America « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  5. Pingback: Weekend Coffee Share 27th August 2017 | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

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