the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Michael Warren Lucas’ Category

Immortal Clay, by Michael Warren Lucas

published in 2014

where I got it: received review copy from the author (Thanks Michael!!)

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What if you woke up one day, and you remembered everything about your life, but you knew without a shadow of a doubt that you weren’t you anymore? That you were something else?

 

While you’re chewing on that, lemme give you some backstory, and then we’ll circle back to this whole “you’re you but you’re not” thing.

 

30-some years ago, a movie called The Thing bombed at the box office.  The cosmic horror movie that was ahead of its time was based on a 1930s novella by John W Campbell Jr. called “Who Goes There?”.  The plot of the novella and the movie adaptation follow American researchers at an Antarctic research base who come across an alien being who can perfectly imitate any lifeform it comes across. Any tiny part of the alien creature acts independently and can imitate anything. There is practically no way to know if your friend has been “assimilated”. The alien will do anything to survive.  We sure are lucky the alien’s ship crash landed in Antarctica, and not, say, the American midwest, right?

 

The movie became a cult classic, spawning sequels, discussions of the alien’s point of view, discussions of how mistrust can spread in a small community, discussions of cosmic horror and how defenseless humans would be of a creature who can so perfectly imitate us after it destroys us.  Is the alien evil? Why would an alien creature understand or care about a human’s definition of evil? Do we blame a cat for killing a mouse?

 

At the end of the movie The Thing, it is assumed that the humans win and that the alien is either dead or will starve to death, and that the rest of humanity has been saved.

 

Assumed.

 

Michael Warren Lucas’s novel Immortal Clay knows what happens when we assume. The concept behind this book is that the researchers in Antarctica failed, the alien survived, the alien grew, the alien found civilization. The alien’s goal is survival. And it won.  Every living thing that it touched, it devoured and then duplicated. Within a few years, every living thing on Earth, every person, every bird, dog, blade of grass, fish, everything, was a duplicate of the alien creature. Kevin Holtzmann knows he isn’t himself anymore. He remembers everything about his life – how he tried (and failed) to save his wife and daughter from being assimilated, where his house is, his old job as a police detective, everything.  But he know he isn’t himself anymore, that he’s just a duplicate created by an impossible-to-understand alien.

 

What happens after the world ends? Actually, mostly the same stuff as before – going to the bar, mowing the lawn, petty shoplifting,  making sure teenagers have adult supervision – just at a slower pace. We’ve already lost, so what’s the hurry?

Read the rest of this entry »

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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