Rebirth of Reason

Favorite EditSanction this itemShadows Live Under Seashells by Allan J. Ashinoff
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Shadows Live Under Seashells
Our most likely future is somewhere between Brave New World and 1984.  It is clean and bright, rather than the post-industrial recycling center of cyberpunk, because an unofficial and unelected power center simply surpassed and usurped the inefficient nation states.  They know what is best.  Memory implants and omnipresent cybernetic personalities are only the most subtle of controls.  In this 2084, humanity has been locked up in Domes, not only for the good of the planet, but for our own good as well. 
Allan Ashinoff credits Ayn Rand, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Jack London as literary influences.  The first three are easy enough to see in the style, theme, and plot.  But absent any wildlife, the last was clearly inspirational.  Wildlife certainly exists, a whole heaping planetful; but people do not interact with animals, lest we damage their ecologies and harm their natural lifestyles. For their betterment (and our own), all humans live in a handful of huge Domes where the Administration watches over us. The Administration actually figured out some years before that bottling people up had little effect on the environment, but the situation was extremely convenient.  In fact, it was the construction of the Domes that finally bankrupted the national governments which the Administration replaced.
Elliot Fintch is a member of the elite. He is called an “eductor” something more than a mere educator.  He works for the Administration.  Essentially, everyone on Earth really does.  Elliot Fintch, however, is special.  As a child, he was identified as COT: Capable of Thought. The Administration coddled him, educated him, trained and rewarded him, and gave him interesting work. He solves problems.  But life is not perfect. And it gets worse.

No one is independent, not even an eductor. Elliot Fintch is constantly wary of entrapment by a secret agent or sycophantic citizen. Any chance comment could raise suspicions about his loyalty. Going off to work one morning, he does not know that his wife was arrested because of a careless phrase during yet another weary argument over the children they never had. Meanwhile, Elliot Fintch has been handed an intractable problem: murders on the Mars colony.

Ashinoff’s writing is clear, clean, and crisp. The book is easy to read and compelling in its unfolding narrative.  While we enjoy some special viewpoints as the author’s audience, we follow Elliot Fintch on his voyage of discovery, along the land, across the water, and into outer space.  For all of his instant access to all of the information in the world, Fintch has been sheltered.  Even ordinary people living lawful careers within the context of the Administration prove to be puzzling to a man who only knew other bureaucrats his entire life.  But Elliot is smart, dedicated, and neuronically enhanced.  Eventually, he figures it out.

This novel stands on its own; but it also rests on a set of short stories, Fallacies of Vision, set closer to our own time.  Both are available as Kindle downloads on Amazon.  Not a Kindle person myself, I found it easy to put the software on my Macintosh and enjoy the reads.  Ashinoff is clearly and consciously a political conservative.  (We met on the “Galt’s Gulch Online” website of the Atlas Shrugged movie producers.) The opening story in Fallacies of Vision, “Erosion” won him undeserved condemnation from the Southern Poverty Law Center. 
Added by Michael E. Marotta
on 8/27, 9:27am

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