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Eve, by Aurelio O'Brien Book Review | SFReader.com
Eve, by Aurelio O'Brien Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Authorhouse Published: 2004 Review Posted: 4/3/2005 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 10 out of 10
Eve, by Aurelio O'Brien
Book Review by Adrienne Jones
Have you read this book?
This is the second time in six months I've found myself reviewing a novel that revisits the popular dystopian themes of classic sci-fi. And as with the last one, (Carlos Hernandez's The Last Generation to Die), Aurelio O'Brien's Eve does borrow from the common vein, the escape from exploded social order which ran through films and literature like Brave New World, Logan's Run, 1984 and George Lucas's first born, THX-1138. But no, you have not read a story like Eve before, this I can guarantee. What Aurelio O'Brien does with his own futuristic vision is most certainly unique, and the most fun I've had with a book in a long time.
Like the biological 'Creature Comforts' in the novel, O'Brien takes bits and pieces of these themes, then mutates, warps and reshapes them like a strand of DNA, fitting them back together in such a way that leaves you shaking your head. Oh, and laughing out loud every other page. Eve is told from the first person perspective of Pentser, a robot convinced that he, and machine kind in general is perfection, the highest life form ever created, and should therefore be more or less running the world. The conflict for Pentser lies in the irony that the world he lives in has done away with machines, long since thrown them over for designer genetics that can create custom biological life forms to serve humans. Pentser on the other hand is a relic, active only because his owner has a love of antiques, and though it is against the law, he keeps Pentser up and running as a sort of combination pet and companion.
Pentser's owner, 'Govil', is our flawed hero. In a futuristic world that has been cleansed of sickness, death, and human reproduction, a world where everything is bioengineered, and even the dogs bark 'I love you!', Govil is depressed. Govil is a genetics expert, a Dr. Frankenstein in a world where humanity has customized mutant hybrid creatures designed to deal with any and all of life's tasks. And these creations are one of the things that make this novel such brilliant fun, as the bio life forms have taken over the functions of all things, even household appliances; ClotheSchomper, WashWomb, DreamWeaver, Lick-n-Span, RodenTiller...But of course not all Creature Comforts are purely practical; we also have the BeddinBuddies, which you can imagine what function they serve. But don't expect the Blade Runner version here; O'Brien's creatures are far more surreal and entertaining.
With the help of Pentser, who has ulterior motives of his own, Govil, sets out to create something truly unique in this world of genetic perfection; a Random, i.e., a human being, a life form that evolves randomly. Here we get Eve, the scientist's greatest creation, an 'average' human female, unaltered by any genetic perfecting.
Here exemplifies the irony that the author uses throughout the tale. We have Govil, a man that creates what are more or less well-behaved monsters for a living. Yet it is the average human he designs, which is viewed as monstrous, perverse, illegal. While the story is set hundreds of years in the future, the author seems to be poking fun at our own society as well; wherein the creation of an imperfect woman is the ultimate sin.
But aside from the fun the author obviously had with these themes, the writing is insightful and cleverly subtle. Peppered throughout are more parables seeming to relate to some of our own current cultural quagmires, exhibited in the following excerpt, taken from Pentser's internal dialogue:
Human Studies further proved this; the least intelligent of Mankind were often the most verbose. This phenomenon of thoughtless articulation was labeled "The Scarecrow Effect," referencing a line from the ancient film "The Wizard of Oz," when said character observed, "People without brains do an awful lot of talking."
But the highlight of this story is in the imagery, presented in such a visual manner that we get a clear view of this world we're reading about, which if it were adapted for film would be pure eye-candy. And it's not just the physicality of the 'Creature Comforts', but the personification. That such entities as a dismembered rooster head alarm clock can exhibit personality without any dialogue whatsoever, is the sign of a talented writer, in my opinion.
Eve, the novel, by Aurelio O'Brien. A great read for fans of any genre, regardless of personal taste.
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I loved this book - everything about it, and have nothing to add from that review excpet to second the ingenuity of the writing.
Pentser's first person perspective gives us all his inspirational and very thought-out speculative insights, but he also employs the use of remotely placed trans-dots to give a brilliant third-person view of the story too - one of the smartest and most effective techniques I've ever seen for telling the whole story.
It climaxes to a fantastic, moving ending that I never saw coming in a million years, an the pacing of this book is so good that you will read it in a single sitting.