“In the near future, humans choose life – for a price. Injectable nanite technology is the lifeblood that flows through every individual wishing to experience the world through the lens of their own theme. While death from mortal wounds is still possible, life is made easier in a socially liberated society where automation and income equality allow passion pursuits to flourish over traditional work. Renewal stations are provided to every law-abiding citizen for weekly check-ins, which issue life-sustaining repairs in exchange for personal privacy. But what becomes of those who check out, of those who dare to resist immortality and risk being edited under the gaze of an identity-extracting government surveillance system?”
The Original follows Holly Winseed. She wakes up in the hospital and discovers that she’s actually a clone. The original Holly killed her husband, and Holly was created to find her. If she does, and kills her, then she can replace her original.
For much of the story, Holly doesn’t believe that her original could’ve killed their husband. She couldn’t imagine a scenario in which that would’ve happened. So, in that way, I guess this is kind of a mystery. She wanders through a world that is experienced differently by every person. For one person, they might be camping in a forest cut off from the rest of humanity. To another person standing five feet away, they might be attending a concert with ten thousand other people. It’s like everyone lives in their own private Holodeck from Star Trek. To Holly, everything is colorless and uninteresting, except the people lost in their own realities.
Amongst this, she must uncover a terrorist cell and find the only person that can give her life: herself.
I remember being interested in the story while I was reading it – and finding the world fascinating. I also remember thinking there was room here for more books.
Brandon Sanderson, of course, is a marvelous, hard-working talent. Mary Robinette Kowal is a renown author who has received a great deal of acclaim lately due to her Lady Astronaut series. Together, somehow, they’ve ended up writing a kind of forgettable sci-fi book. But maybe that’s my fault. After reading this, I re-read The Lord of the Rings (which is one of my favorite stories), my wife convinced me to read an absolutely charming romance by Cara Bastone, and I started Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive, which I’ve wanted to read for the better part of the last decade.
So maybe this unfairly got lost in the shuffle.