Tuesday, July 1, 2014
The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan
On a scientific expedition, researchers find a core of what they call hard-ice in a massive iceberg. These scientists are gathering specimens, usually krill or shrimp, which have been frozen, and experimenting on reviving them, sometimes after long periods of freezing. Now they have found a huge vein of ice and what appears to be a large mammal frozen there. They expect to find a seal or a walrus, but what they find instead is a man, frozen solid.
After freeing him from the ice, he is transported back to their institute, where the same regimen is carried out, and the man is reanimated. This is Jeremiah Rice, who went to sea and was swept overboard in 1906. He has been encased in ice. Although the experiment is successful, there is a world of difference between reanimating shrimp and a man.
Rice remembers his life before, his love of his wife and child. He remembers his former occupation as a judge and what occurred those hundred years before. He is amazed, startled and a little taken aback at how the world has progressed and the miracles that are commonplace in the modern world. He struggles to understand what is around him and to establish relationships with the people he meets.
Everyone he meets has an agenda and not all are benign to him. There is Cartage, who runs the institute and sees this project as his route to fame and fortune. There is Dixon who is the journalist assigned to the project and is willing to ride it to his own measure of fame. Then there is Dr. Kate Philo. The head of the recovery project, she develops the closest relationship with Jeremiah and starts to question the validity of the project and what it is trying to accomplish.
Can we come back and live a second life? Would we want to, even if it's possible? What are the things that are most important in a life? These are some of the questions Stephen Kiernan asks in this poignant novel that sweeps the reader into a sea of inquiries that each must answer for himself. The reader is entranced by the emerging relationship between Jeremiah and Kate and what the outcome will be. This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction and those interested in time travel and science.