Quality DNA by Beth Martin

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It’s so cool to see books you read in the beta stage get published. This book was one of my first beta reads, and it was a well-polished novel then. I liked it so much, in fact, I re-read it in its final form (and I very rarely do that because reading time = precious!)

Plot: In the future, due to overpopulation, each person is only allowed to have one child. DNA is monitored and men are sterilized after fathering an offspring. Except for some reason, babies are being born matching the DNA of dead men of exceptional talents, and it’s up to the social department’s investigator Irene to figure out how it’s possible.

First of all, I loved the diversity of this book. The main character is a lesbian woman, married to a bisexual Korean woman. You want to read it already, don’t you? Race, gender, and sexuality is represented not only well, but in abundance, and with no negative connotation. A+ in my book!

The characters are another big plus. No one is perfect or pure evil, just like in life. The relationships in this book, be it friends, family, or romance, are very real. I had genuine feelings when things happened to them.

The story itself is quite on the sci-fi side, and more than a dose of suspending disbelief is required. For many of the main points, such as the reasoning for population control, you just have to take them as is and not try to pick it apart. Enjoy it for what it is and you won’t be disappointed.

You can pre-order Quality DNA on Amazon.

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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Sometimes you read a book, and you wonder ‘why did I wait so long?’ Because it’s So. Freaking. Good.

That’s how I felt about Ready Player One.

Maybe I’m biased, because a small part of me lives in World of Warcraft (though there was a time when all of me did, much like the book). Wade’s feelings were a mirror of my own on so many levels, from friendships to anxiety to the sense of belonging in the virtual world more than the real one.

And who is to say what’s real and what isn’t? The people are real. The excitement over finally killing a raid boss is real. The memories of playing are real. As John Lennon (and many others) have said, Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

They may be just pixels on a screen but we are all just atoms in the universe. 

Anyway, back to the book.

Since I grew up in Russia I didn’t get most of the 80’s references, so for me it wasn’t as a trip down memory lane as for most people reading this book. ‘Nostalgia-porn’ as other reviewers seem to call it. I had to piece together a lot of it from my pop culture studies and teenage years in the anime club. Still, I enjoyed everything from start to finish. I truly did not want to put this book down. It made me wish Blizzard did a scavenger hunt in WoW, but at the same time it would just be datamined so it probably wouldn’t work. Still, maybe a live hunt, where you had to find a dev in game in a certain amount of time and then get a clue to the next place. That would be awesome. No million dollar reward needed.

I truly loved this book and boy was I ecstatic when I found out they were making a movie! /dance

So if you like MMOs you will probably enjoy this, even if you haven’t grown up in the 80s or in English-speaking countries.

The Identity

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We didn’t kill the humans.

Actually, when you look at it from our perspective, it wasn’t anyone’s fault, really. The human race tried their hardest to achieve immortality and when they finally came to the biggest breakthrough in history, it also turned out to be their biggest downfall.

But who could blame them? I know if I could live forever, I would jump at the chance. Unfortunately, like the humans even I have an expiration date. Not my body, that’s easily replaceable, but my Identity – what makes me, well, me. Some call it a soul, but I would argue that a soul by definition is immortal, and thus does not fit the description.

When the humans discovered the new alloy that could conduct electric impulses, they knew the world would soon change. First, they loaded it with programs that grew exponentially into true artificial intelligence. Then, they began loading it with maps of human synapses, eventually successfully transferring a person’s consciousness.

And then, they started killing themselves.

I mean, in their defense, why would you need two bodies? You wouldn’t, so when a consciousness was exchanged from the human brain to the alloy, one was discarded. Guess which one.

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