Book Title: Clones: The Anthology – Frontiers of Speculative Fiction, Book 1
Authors: Daniel Arthur Smith, Nathan M. Beauchamp, Susan Kaye Quinn, Hank Garner, Michael Patrick Hicks, Samuel Peralta, P.K. Tyler, R.D. Brady, Rysa Walker and Joshua Ingle.
Editor: Jessica West
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
Available On: Amazon as an eBook, a paperback and an audiobook
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Have you ever thought to yourself that clones would be a good thing? Do you often wish you had more than one of you around the house to do chores and stuff? Those are productive and positive ideas about the many possibilities that cloning someone holds. But when you explore the darker aspects of these ideas, the possibilities become much scarier.
How about a replacement husband or a clone that is the mirror image of you who are? Clones used for breeding and experimentation or a way to perpetuate our legacy for generations to come? The eleven stories in this anthology feature all of these ideas and more, making for an intriguing look at the wide variety of ways clones are a fascinating subject for storytelling, starting with:
Daniel Arthur Smith’s “Confessional, Part I” – Citizen Eli enters the confessional booth and talks to Mother. In their discussion, Mother thinks Eli is guilty of something. But is he? A captivating start to a three-part tale serialized throughout this anthology.
Nathan M. Beauchamp’s “The Replacement Husband” – Jasmine’s replacement husband Norwood is wheeled into her home, months after the original died. A clone long in gestation, he comes out of stasis missing some crucial memories but otherwise seems normal. But Jasmine has some problems with this replacement, feeling torn up about their past he doesn’t remember. Why is she acting like this?
The answer is a stunning revelation and how it affects her and ultimately him is absolutely extraordinary. A strong and powerful tale about grief that’s gut-wrenching and truly surprising.
Daniel Arthur Smith’s – “Like No Other” – A young girl and her sister are the daughters of a well-known scientist at a university, where he does research on gene manipulation. But when a riot breaks out condemning this practice, proclaiming it unnatural, the girls and their father get caught up in the terror and hysteria as backlash about this issue breaks loose across the country, turning into violence. What will happen to them, why are they being singled out and will they all survive?
An emotionally formidable story about the power of love, the limitless boundaries of science and the ugliness of racism, culminating in a devastatingly potent conclusion.
Susan Kaye Quinn’s “Awakening” – Sister Amara is one of twelve sisters being raised together by cybernetic beings. Isolated since birth from society, their purpose to their masters is all about discovering their secret power manifesting in them, undergoing constant interrogations and testing. But when Sister Amara has a strange out-of-body experience, what will happen next?
This story slowly grows more terrifying and horrific as the situation spirals out of control, putting all of their lives at risk! This tale is masterful in its psychological manipulations and runs chills down your spine as you read it with each suspenseful page turn.
Hank Garner’s “Eve’s Children” – Dr. Lexi Danvers has done much archeological research into the origins of the human race and is about to unveil unequivocal proof of her surprising and unusual findings to the world. But the news she has to share doesn’t sit well with the public, as it blurs the line between science and faith. But when her opposition does something drastic, her convictions about her research are put to the ultimate test.
An enthralling tale that successfully blends all of these concepts together in fascinating and imaginative ways that held me spellbound with its storytelling.
Michael Patrick Hicks’ “Black Site” – Hidden deep in space lies a remote research facility where a group of clones made from their progenitor carries on his purpose. They are cloning fetuses and with each iteration, are trying to devolve each one to learn more about the origins of humanity in the process. But Alpha and his clones discover something terrifying with the latest version, something they never expected to find.
A true tale of horror and science untethered, successfully cultivating your sense of dread and raising your apprehensiveness. All of that spine-tingling tension eventually climaxes into an explosive, senses-shattering finale.
Samuel Peralta’s “Fahrenheit 1451” – A firefighter enters a burning building, trying to save lives but the heat is extreme and he’s trying to rescue one particular person. But why did the fire start and how is it connected to the person he tried to save?
This story is intense, presenting an intriguing mystery with high stakes hiding among in flames of this disaster. The prose and the storytelling are searing and vivid, feeling so incendiary, the heat prickles your skin as you inhabit the firefighter’s character in this tense and taut story, especially when you discover the eye-opening surprise at the revealing ending!
Daniel Arthur Smith’s “Confessional, Part II” – The tension mounts and the questions multiply as Citizen Eli talks to Mother – but what’s really going on here?
P.K. Tyler’s “All These Bodies” – In a processing pod, a body awakens to find itself being examined by lab technicians, who mistakenly diagnose this particular body as defective and send it for materials recycling. But this body is self-aware in a way the other bodies in the lab are not. What is the purpose of all of this cloning and why is this body so different from all of the others?
The unforeseeable answers are frightening and astounding when I discovered what they were, provoking an intense and gut-wrenching reaction once the truth became known.
R.D. Brady’s “B.E.G.I.N.” – In 1987, a secret government agency in the United States known as Majestic 12 gathers, discussing the history of aliens and downed aircraft they have gathered over the years. With citizens in danger and all leads exhausted, they decide on an unusual solution to their dilemma. Then, Dr. Alice Leander is recruited for this project because of her research into cloning.
What she’s cloning, why she’s recruited and the purpose of this project is captivating, propelling the reader through this compelling story to see where it goes next and whether this project is successful. It all leads to a chilling ending that you’ll never see coming.
Rysa Walker’s “Splinter” – In 1905, Kiernan sees an injured and bleeding duplicate version of himself blink into existence. As he tries to reconcile his memories of the past after this event, he struggles with a conundrum about a crucial moment in 1893 where someone he cares about died, Kate. Can he actually save her from a serial killer and at what cost to himself or his duplicates?
In Kiernan’s attempt to change the past, we are treated to a dark and horrific story filled with intrigue, clever uses of time travel, some sly humor about so many duplicate Kiernan’s running around and exciting, unpredictable twists. A thoroughly delightful tale!
Joshua’s Ingle’s “The Vandal” – Chase and his wife are woken up when they hear an intruder in the house. When Chase investigates, what happens next turns into a scary situation, leading to a harrowing discovery. So, why are they even debating what they should do next, anyway?
The answer to that question leads to a thorough exploration of nature versus nurture, free will, and our genetics dictating our actions. A thoughtful and insightful discussion about an intriguing concept of the path not taken, well-executed and well written.
Daniel Arthur Smith’s “Confessional, Part III” – Citizen Eli did something he shouldn’t have; finding answers in the process of doing so but Mother strongly disapproves. What will she do?
When all three of these “Confessional” vignettes are combined, they form a strong and intriguing short story that’s sparse on details but still answers any questions you might have after reading it. This ominous and creepy tale is highly enjoyable yet shocking and disturbing with its unexpected revelations.
This anthology presents a truly breathtaking exploration of cloning and what it could mean for the human race. Clones are such an alluring topic to delve into, as the moral and ethical implications of such technology and how it can be utilized are deftly and thoughtfully examined here.
After reading it, it makes me think that we need to be careful about what we wish for, as we might just get it and regret it. Read this riveting anthology for yourself to see how each author has an ingenious and creative take on this visionary theme. Then, decide for yourself what you think of the inherent potential as well as the dark side of cloning.
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Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about stories written by or published by Daniel Arthur Smith include “Klarissa Dreams Redux“, “Spectral Shift“, “Attack of the Kung Fu Mummies“, “Gazer: A Spectral Worlds Story“, “Tales from the Canyons of the Damned: No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, Omnibus 9 & Omnibus 10.”