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Johann Schmidt is seeking funding for his latest genetic experiment. His fundraising speech to a group of wealthy atheists doesn’t go over so well, but he does get invited to have a private chat with renowned scientist Eliot Von Lennon.
Eliot Von Lennon’s assistant, Claire Jacobs, is the first to bring up the question of the human soul. Subsequent questions follow such as: Can it be measured? Can it be created? What happens if mad scientists create some laboratory life that is lacking a soul? These are all interesting questions that are explored in this short tale.
Johann Schmidt hopes to skirt the laws concerning creating clones and Eliot Von Lennon is willing to fund his efforts if Schmidt will help him with a little problem of his own. At first, Schmidt is disgusted by the mere appearance of Lennon. Even though he is a man of science, he still has a narrow view of what is acceptable.
MILD SPOILER: I liked this tale because Lennon is not wholly male or nor wholly female, but rather a chimera. I am not sure what the proper term is, perhaps intersex, but it is great to see this highly underrepresented slice of society present in this tale. END SPOILER
The three set too, attempting to make Lennon’s dream come true. This is where I got a little murky on the plot. I thought that Lennon wanted to accomplish one thing, but then we move forward a bit in time and apparently I was wrong about what Lennon wanted. I feel like a didn’t connect a few dots there. At any rate, none of them got what they thought they were getting and things get messy.
The tale starts off all science-y and talking about rights and wrongs. However, once the experiment is underway and coming to fruition, the horror part sets in. Under the stress, we get to see the true nature of Eliot Von Lennon who isn’t as sympathetic a character as we are first lead to believe. There are casualties and gore. Yep, the author hooked me in with the age old questions surrounding souls and coupled it with science. By the time the horror arrived in the plotline, I was trapped and had to see the story through to the end. All in all, it was an interesting tale bringing up some age-old questions concerning the soul and medical experimentation.
Narration: Audio Elan did a very nice job. Schmidt had a German accent the entire time (which was awesome to hear). Then Elan had a nice female voice for Claire, and an often indeterminate voice (as required by the story) for Von Lennon. Also, there was this one section where a character had to type out answers in reply to spoken questions and Elan did a masterful job of portraying the ragged typing.