Saturday, November 05, 2005
Science Fiction Book Review: The Eyes of Heisenberg
Frank Herbert, best know for his Dune books, also wrote quite a few others of which this is one. And I must say, a damn good one it is.
Frank envisions a world of genetic manipulation is this book, a world governed by Optimen, mortals who have been gene manipulated to the point of living forever - almost. Virtually lost from their vocabulary are words like death, killing, murder and violence. They just don’t happen any more in this sterile controlled world.
Under the Optimen are the Folk, lesser gene manipulated mortals who only live hundreds of years. Poor them. The society is well thought out, creepy in the extreme and of course you just know it is not going to last. What perfect society ever does?
This novel tells the tale of some Folk wishing to procreate on their own, and underground resistence to the overseers (the Optimen) who grand breeding licenses to those worthy. And the womb of woman is no longer used to raise children; that job is left to vats. All people in the cities are fed a constant mixture of gas, gas which renders them sterile and infertile just in case any "viable" humans are in the population and get the funny notion of procreating on their own outside the Optimen’s control.
And the creepiest of all. Any gamete which is found to be viable (a normal reproduction capable human) during the artificial procedures to join sperm and egg, is exterminated because it would ruin the world order if it ever escaped. But the underground is fighting for just that, and they may soon win.
Cyborgs also play a pivotal roll in this society and they also have plans of their own.
Now all of this may seem old hat, especially if you have been watching the Discovery or the Space channel the last decade or so, but remember this was written back in 1966. After reading this book I can safely say Herbert is a master storyteller.
I recommend this book for its ideas, plot, suspense - hell pure entertainment.
Two sterile thumbs up.
This is what great classic science fiction is all about.