Monday, May 21, 2012

The House of the Scorpion, by Nancy Farmer

The House of the Scorpion
Written by Nancy Farmer

“I always say the truth is best even when we find it unpleasant. Any rat in a sewer can lie. It's how rats are. It's what makes them rats. But a human doesn't run and hide in dark places, because he's something more. Lying is the most personal act of cowardice there is.” -- Matt, The House of The Scorpion, Written by Nancy Farmer

The House of the Scorpion is basically a philosophy book disguised as science fiction dystopia. It chronicles the story of Matt, a clone of a powerful Opium drug lord. It tackles many of the complicated questions that scientists and even layman are asking themselves, now that cloning is a definite probability. There was a time when these serious questions could be avoided, because the ability to create a clone seemed far into the future. This is no longer the case. Now, your own personal views on cloning aside, this book tells one version of what could happen, were scientist allowed to clone human beings. It gets you thinking, and asking all the right questions to come to a better understanding of what cloning could mean for science, for medicine, and for humanity.

I thought that Farmer did a good job with this controversial topic. She managed to create characters that you cared about, and I think it will open the eyes of many who may have had very linear ideas about cloning and other scientific advancements and allow them to see a bigger picture. I'm still not sure, after reading her book, how Farmer feels about these scientific discoveries. I think it's wonderful that she could keep her own viewpoint out of the way of the story and let the story speak for itself. That was my favorite part of the story.

I have to admit that, while entertaining and thought provoking, I was lured away for a few days in the middle of the book by something else that was a little more interesting and fast paced. But I wouldn't call the book boring, by any means. If anything, taking a break and then returning may have made me appreciate the story even more, after allowing my mind to stew over it a bit.

I was also impressed when I read that there will be a sequel and that the reason it's taking so long is because Farmer doesn't use any outlines or anything like that, because she allows the story to build itself, so to speak. I thought that was a fantastic idea and may incorporate it into my own future writing projects. I have never enjoyed writing once I figured out what was going to happen. It seemed like if I knew the rest of the story it was no fun to write. Perhaps if I start writing at the beginning and just see what happens, I could actually finish a book one of these days. So I leave The House of The Scorpion inspired to write my own book, and looking forward to the sequel.

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