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Eva by Peter Dickinson

Eva (1988)

by Peter Dickinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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I was moved to get this by Jo Walton's review on Tor.com, five years ago I now realise; I had no idea that it was one of Dickinson's best known books *"80% of my mail, almost all of it from the USA, is about this one book"); I know him for The Green Gene and Annerton Pit and Tulku and King and Joker and The Changes (of which I saw the first episode again at Worldcon).

It is a good take on a familiar sfnal theme, of a human mind transplanted into another body - H.L. Gold had his hero transplanted into a dog in 1939, and there's always I Will Fear No Evil, in which a rich man's brain is transplanted into his secretary's body and hilarity ensues. Dickinson's teenage protagonist wakes up to find that to save her life, her parents have transplanted her mind into the body of one of her father's experimental chimpanzees, in a near future world which is facing environmental disaster. She is caught up in the wider politics of what has happened to her, the actual ethics of the operation (and of repeating it) and the intersection of financial and political interests in what happens to the chimpanzees as the research money runs out, and has to find her own way between asserting her humanity and embracing her new chimpanzee nature, including sex and death. Some of it, of course, is a metaphor for growing up, but all of it is rather good, and I'm glad I followed up on this recommendation. ( )
  nwhyte | Oct 5, 2014 |
I first read this over 20 years ago and it's stuck with me ever since. It still has that same deep visceral impact. I suppose that's the mark of a great book. ( )
  bonreads | Jun 11, 2014 |
While it does take a degree of blind faith in the setting, as it is a bit outlandish, if you can extend that much there is a fair amount of satisfaction in this book.
The story itself is done without being too preachy on the subjects of how we play gods to the world around us and to each other without taking much responsibility for the results of those actions, but it does give a gentle nod to those themes.
There's also an underlying theme of how humanity is something that extends past human and at times is the last pace the trait can be found; between the lines the story is a bit harrowing when it comes to the fight Eva has to suffer in herself to pin down just what humanity really comes down to.
The ending was entirely what I wanted it to be, an ending and a beginning done tastefully; overall something I would come back to later on to read again. ( )
  zombiepuppy | Mar 4, 2014 |
This is a YA science fiction novel. In Dickinson's future most of Earth's animals are extinct, Eva's father works with some of the few surviving chimpanzee's and after a tragic traffic accident Eva is a guinea pig in an experiment to transfer her memories and self into another body.

This is at least partly a novel looking at what it means to be human and whether human life is more "precious" than that of the other creatures that inhabit the Earth. I did find the story a bit simplistic for my tastes but I'm sure the target audience will get more out of it. I did like the character of Eva but most of the other characters are not as well-fleshed out, in my opinion. An interesting and thought provoking idea that I am pleased to have read. ( )
  calm | May 18, 2012 |
A story of a young girl, Eva, who awakens from a coma after a terrible car accident, to discover that her mind, has been transplanted into the body of a female chimpanzee. Eva’s body was so seriously damaged that the only way doctors can save her life is to do surgery and transplant her mind into the body of Kelly, a chimpanzee.
When Eva wakes up in the hospital bed, she can’t move and can only watch the shaper, a futuristic TV, or look out the window. She had to learn how to use the chimp’s body to move and communicate with other chimps.
Eva’s father is a research scientist of captive chimps with whom Eva was raised and grew up. Her operation and recovery were sponsored by a manufacturer of commercial products, in a way exploiting her to advertise their products.
As Eva recovers and adjusts to her new life, she begins to identify with the chimpanzees, leading her to resist her handlers, her parents and manufacturers, for greater autonomy for herself and her fellow chimps.
Peter Dickinson takes us to a fascinating journey of a young girl, told through the eyes of Eva, the main character. The plot is set in the future, in a world where scientists have highly advanced technology
The relationship between humanity and nature, destructive exploitation of animals, are the primary themes of the book. It raises all kinds of existential issues. Issues about animal rights, and our responsibilities to nature and the environment.
The author reveals the plot of the story slowly, focusing more on the relationships and the feelings of Eva. An unbelievable but thought-provoking book in today’s world of cloning and organ transplants. A good book to stimulate discussion of medical ethics, animal rights, euthanasia, and the influence of media.

Boston Globe-Horn Award for Outstanding Book, 1989
Phoenix Award in 2008
Pacific Northern Library Association for Young Reader’s Choice Award ( )
  ydestura | Apr 6, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter Dickinsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woods, DanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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to Jane Goodall
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Eva was lying on her back.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440207665, Mass Market Paperback)

THIRTEEN-YEAR OLD EVA wakes up in the hospital unable to remember anything since the picnic on the beach. Her mother leans over the bed and begins to explain. A traffic accident, a long coma . . .

But there is something, Eva senses, that she’s not being told. There is a price she must pay to be alive at all. What have they done, with their amazing medical techniques, to save her?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:24 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

After a terrible accident, a young girl wakes up to discover that she has been given the body of a chimpanzee. The picnic on the beach is Eva's last memory. As she lies in the hospital bed while her mother explains about the accident and the coma, Eva senses there is something they are not telling her--a price she must pay to be alive.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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