Inherit the Whirlwind ISBN: 9780648089506, written, copyright and published by D. R. Pope.
The story: Ben Colliver and the love of his life are spear fishing beyond the reef in water well known to be shark infested. He successfully spears a sizeable fish, attaches the bleeding catch to his line and continues swimming. A shark gets the fish and then his love. From here the reader is introduced to other principle characters, his thoroughly religious mother, his brilliant father who is the leading scientist of the Life Extension and Enhancement Department (LEED) and his sister Holly who becomes a major part of the story. The mission of LEED is to predict at what approximate age an individual will require a new organ so they “can start saving for the replacement”. The organ can be grown from blood and tissue stem cell samples taken at that time and be fully grown to provide complete replacement by the time it is needed through cell rejuvenation and 3-D bio printing. A yearly body scan provides accurate timing for this replacement and to confirm further actions that might be required. “It is expensive…. (but can be treated) like the ultimate life extension insurance policy.” LEED “can extend life easily with DNA and cell treatment to at least 150 years” by which time science will have advanced even further until eventual immortality is attainable. They already have a cryogenic preservation and revival protocol using molecular nanotechnology that enables diagnosis and treatment down to the molecular level. Even brain tissue “will be made viable and recoverable” AND “memory will be uploaded to fully restore the patient to their original personhood.” This may be accomplished even though a brain is destroyed IF the person had made sure the downloading and storage had been accomplished at an earlier time. This material easily could be uploaded into the new, perfectly reconstructed brain. You still will be you, because “you are just an accumulation of memories.” If the individual should die, a clone simply could be created with your DNA and uploaded with your memories. Even if your body is completely destroyed, you can be kept going indefinitely with memory loading set in place by selection of one from a readymade group of blank clones and all your stored pertinent material uploaded.
Religiously inclined individuals are outraged by the organization’s activities with resulting extensive picketing and riots. Ultimately, the LEED center is bombed and Holly, Ben’s sister and the Professor’s much loved daughter, is literally blown into pieces. They wish to ‘bring her back to life’ by employing the means they have available and the book’s basic theme develops. The following large portion of the story is established through the mechanism of a jury trial reported by an on-the-scene journalist and examines the question of whether Transhumanism is immoral because it forces man to revolt against religious dogma. Science can guarantee to extend life and provide real hope for eventual immortality, whereas God cannot be proven to do so. If so, what happens to the soul? What of the teachings of the Bible and their frequently contrary declarations?
Discussion: The author has subtitled the story as “The final showdown between Science and Religion.” And he has set forth a quite remarkably inclusive discussion of pertinent facts and feasible conjectures about science, God, Jesus, the disciples and the Bible. As such, this book might well be a worthwhile consideration for anyone who questions his/her own religious motivation. And the last approximately 75-80 pages are especially interesting in the author’s description of the fact that man still will function as man, according to his own ‘inner self’, his level of greed, ego development, sense of honor, his personal ‘needs’ and the rest. This latter is a most appropriate observation that brings to this reviewer’s mind a few further thoughts: the old Hindu proverb, quoted by the author, pertaining to the constant and deep controversy with regard to which religion is the true one: “There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, so it doesn’t matter which path you take. The only one wasting time is the one who runs around and around the mountain telling everyone that their path is wrong.” A corollary thought: every individual/group believes that their deity (if they have one) is on their side in any serious conflict. This is amusingly demonstrated by a reported isolated incident from WW I that probably would have gone viral if proper equipment had been available. One cold early morning a voice travelling across no-mans-land from the German trenches proclaimed Gott mit uns! (God is with us) only to be answered from the allied trenches. “We got mittens too”. A third thought most pertinent to the author’s book is the statement first heard during WW II, again in the Korean War, and I understand from acquaintances has continued in subsequent situations of armed conflict – the statement: “There are no atheists in foxholes.” If one has experienced the situation, or even if you have not, it does provide another serious addition to be taken into consideration with the many factors included in the author’s compelling discussion. Although parenthetically perhaps, to be more politically correct for the seemingly amazing sensibilities of today’s individuals, the admonition should read: “There are few if any atheists in one’s selected area of hopeful safety when explosions and lethal projectiles rapidly are encroaching.”
4* 5* Knowledgeable and engrossing science/religion discussion; -1* for hiccups.