Saturday, October 10, 2009

Crashed by Robin Wasserman

Crashed by Robin Wasserman is a sequel to Skinned, a novel I have never read. I picked up the second book unaware that it is a sequel and, by the time I realized I was reading a sequel, I was already so caught up in the story that I didn’t care. In fact, after a few chapters, I was tempted to stop reading the second book, go find the first, and read it before going on. However, it was easier to just keep reading Crashed; and that is what I chose to do. At times, I thought it was a bit melodramatic but, ultimately, the roller-coaster plot line, complete with turns and shifts, and I closed the book content. This is the second of what will be a trilogy and Wasserman has created a surprisingly good cyber-punk science-fiction story, complete with the dystopian horror deeply rooted in our contemporary society. In other words, where we are now echoes loudly throughout where this story imagines we will be. Everything from social networks to surgical enhancements to recreational narcotic use has become par for the course in a world where death is not necessarily the end. Most interesting for me was the paradox of Lia Kahn’s existential awareness or lack thereof. Lia thinks in oxymoronic terms of contradicting realities. She was dead; she now lives. She cares; she doesn’t care. She wants to face the truth; she wants to deny the truth. Everything and nothing, she tries to balance it all and fails . . . and succeeds. There is a depth to this novel that lends itself to discussion, to debate. It is the type of novel that, had I read it as a teenager, would have made me want to read it again and again. It doesn’t provide easy answers. Is plastic surgery a boon or bane? If we can create selves on the internet why can’t we continue to live after we die in some cybernetic form? And if this really is the logical conclusion to our present state of being, are we prepared to make the necessary changes to avoid the inevitable? The book invites the reader to think, to question, and, above all else, to feel. And, although a bit melodramatic at times, the novel itself is satisfying.

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