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Brother, Frankenstein by Michael Bunker

Brother, Frankenstein

by Michael Bunker

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Amish science fiction. Who woulda thunk it? Brother, Frankenstein isn’t my first dip into this unique spin on the genre (I’ve read Bunker’s Pennsylvania Omnibus and Chris Pourteau’s B-Company Tales, which also take place in Bunker’s world), and it certainly won’t be my last if he continues to put out stories of this caliber. If you haven’t tried Amish scifi yourself, you need to download and start reading, because these stories are different and refreshing.

While Brother, Frankenstein most certainly has parallels with Mary Shelley’s classic, this is far from being a modern day rehash. When a doctor and technological genius combines the heart and brain of an autistic Amish boy (Frank) with the most sophisticated and powerful robot ever built, the powers that be decide it needs to be destroyed. The deranged leader believes that no price is too heavy to pay to kill the robot.

The doctor and Frank go on the run, seeking refuge where they can, but the government is right on their heels. Thrilling and heart-breaking, Bunker fills the novel with human emotions that make the characters come to life. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself reading this well past your bedtime. Highly recommended. ( )
  Ed_Gosney | Sep 19, 2015 |
ABR's original Brother Frankenstein audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Frank is an 11 year old Amish boy afflicted with dwarfism and autism. His brief life would have ended naturally if not for the efforts of a mad-scientist doctor. Chris Alexander has developed a HADroid device, a robot operated by the brain and circulatory system of a human. Breaking the rules of his military sponsors, he transplants Frank’s heart and autistic brain into the most powerful weapon ever devised; he now has only 60 days to either help Frank control his emotions and his powerful new body or be forced to terminate him – all while being ruthlessly hunted by the most vicious agent the military has.

Though it is a thoroughly modern novel, Bunker has managed to capture some of the mood of the original Frankenstein novel. And like its 19th Century counterpart, the story is much more about the social implications of fitting into society and the monster-as-metaphor for mankind’s gross misunderstandings and fear of the unknown. On the outside, Frank is an indestructible killing machine, but on the inside, he is still an 11 year old autistic Amish boy.

Bunker goes to great effort to reveal the many misconceptions about autism, and eventually how the boy overcomes many of his challenges. The Amish culture is also described in rich detail and with respect. He gives a nod to the movie, “Witness,” which parallels the story for part of the book.

Andrew McFerrin reads the novel in a way that makes it seem as if it were written for him. Dr. Alexander is constantly doubting his own decisions and actions, and Mr. McFerrin, through his excellent performance, gives us a front row seat inside the doctor’s brain.

There is plenty of hard science to entertain the most rabid science fiction fans. But ultimately the book is about the deep sociological and philosophical questions that society will eventually have to answer as the lines between man and machine blur.

Audiobook provided for review by the production company. ( )
  audiobibliophile | Jul 13, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 151158128X, Paperback)

Dr. Chris Alexander, a borderline sociopath and technological genius, has designed an advanced cybernetic life form from prototype decommissioned military drones and top-secret experimental DARPA technology. The HADroid was supposed to be a military grade robot with the transplanted heart and brain of a human donor that would “transform” into a devastating state of the art war machine when activated by its onboard human operator. But when the mad doctor steals the dying child of a simple Amish couple and transplants the brain and cardiovascular system of their dying eleven year old autistic son into the incredibly lethal robot the dark forces of government come looking for their investment. Dr. Alexander and the monster escape into another Amish community to hide among the plain folk while Frank, the autistic eleven year old boy trapped inside the body of the world’s most deadly robot, befriends another child who will help the prisoner inside the machine to leave the world of autism and understand what it means to be human and Amish. But tensions arise among the plain and pacifistic yet closed minded Amish as they begin to suspect just what kind of technological monstrosity is hiding among them, and before long hard men who do the government’s most dirty deeds will come looking for a killing machine only to find a boy named Frank who has the power to defend a closed society from the worst of the world.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 13 Jul 2015 09:08:44 -0400)

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