Joan Roughgarden. Kauai Institute (kauai-
institute.com), $21.99 (492p) ISBN 978-0-9862914-0-1
Evolutionary biologist Roughgarden (Evolution’s Rainbow) reaches back two millennia to turn the Ramayana into science fiction, changing its poetry to hard science but unfortunately losing its sense of grand-scale wonder in the process. In the mid-21st century, Das, the CEO of Apple, creates a son, Ram, who’s genetically engineered to meet whatever challenges the future will bring. Das mixes in the DNA of great people and also of animals, hoping the child will have unusual attributes and an ability to bond with other creatures. As a young man, Ram converses with animals and strengthens his body through techno-medical intervention as well as by playing sports with his brothers. These efforts prepare him to confront the evil Ravan, leader of an international crime syndicate. But before taking his place as CEO of Apple, Ram is exiled and his wife, Sita, is kidnapped at Ravan’s direction, leading to a war that threatens to make Ram forget his ultimate purpose. Roughgarden stays faithful to the essence of the original stories, but the book lacks their epic feel and beautiful language. While the rewrite may disappoint those who have read the Ramayana, it should satisfy fans of technical and naturalistic SF. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/02/2015
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 364 pages - 978-0-9862914-1-8
Open Ebook - 362 pages - 978-0-9862914-3-2
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