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Past Lives, Present Tense
by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (Editor)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0441009042, Mass Market Paperback)If you could mind-meld with any historical figure, who would it be? Einstein, Shakespeare, Helen of Troy? Somewhere in the near future, a fascinating method is developed to encode a client with all of the memories--indeed, the entire personality--of another person. The characters' selections range from the mundane (Babe Ruth) to the offbeat (Anne Boleyn) to the downright terrifying (Jesus), with varying results. What's surprising is how lightly these people enter into permanent symbiosis with a stranger--marriage seems hardly a commitment at all compared to having someone's entire being hardcoded into your brain!
Reading this book is like walking the same path at different times of day: some plot points repeat like a worker on an assembly line while others, viewed in a different light, suddenly seem more sinister or powerful. Several of the stories seem overly familiar, while some have been sculpted into truly affecting, original tales--most notably those of Margaret Ball, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Gary A. Braunbeck. While the cadence of the stories becomes lulling at times, there are some magnificent twists and tangents to uncover. A satisfying read, but one can't help wondering what would've happened had the writers been given more leg room. --Jhana Bach
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:13 -0400)
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