I read The Adoration of Jenna Fox and enjoyed the book Mary Pearson released confronting the issues of humanity, synthetic human parts, and what constitutes a human being. The Fox Inheritance is the sequel that brings back Jenna Fox’s two friends, who were killed with her in an automobile accident at the age of sixteen. Their brains were copied and saved for 260 years before they were uploaded into a synthesized body through biotechnology.
Locke, the protagonist, awakes in a new body. Taller and bigger than his previous one, he and his best friend Kara are left to wonder the intentions of Dr. Gatsborough, their creator, when they are displayed like a product to a potential client. Locke learns from Kara that they are just floor models bound to be replaced. When Kara does the unthinkable, Locke is thrust into an escape and a world he never dreamed of in his 260 years of living inside a black cube.
Pearson does a wonderful job by writing from the POV of Locke, who as a character, is hesitant to jump to any conclusions, slowly revealing the story from Locke’s eyes and showing a world 260 years in the future with robots, a split United States government, and improvements in medicine that allow scientists/doctors to manufacture whole bodies.
The ethics of medicine are really left out (that’s addressed in her first book), but the real question, what is considered human, is explored again. In the first book, 10% was enough to be considered human, but in The Fox Inheritance, Pearson challenges this assumption.
The plot carries well and the story has nice pacing, but I felt dissatisfied with the resolution of the climax. In the end, I felt Locke never had to make the tough choices that would make his character stronger like Jenna did in the first book.
I loved how Pearson uses biotechnology. My own work in progress is a biopunk novel, so I was excited to see “Biogel” and neural networks. As a science fiction writer, I understand that you can’t drag your story by endlessly describing the technology in detail. Still, the scientist in me was wanting to know more details of the possibility of this type of tech. As much as I love computers and robots, I think using cellular, molecular, and nano technology is way cooler.
Overall, a great book with lots of thrills, and Pearson’s keen sight of the future of humanity and technology, and how they merge and what we call human.
4 Starships out of 5