Chasms: Gospel of Freeman by G.J.O. Smith
Chasms: Gospel of Freeman, by G.J.O Smith, is a sci-fi novel that tries to figure out who you would want to become if you had the power to be anything. When humans become ill or are near death, in fear, they go to the Aquarius Corporation. The Aquarius Corporation gives humans the opportunity to live for eternity, under the condition that they leave their old life behind and change everything they are. Participants have the freedom to choose how they look, e.g., like a celebrity, gain a tail, or have a green body, etc. It’s similar to present day plastic surgery, but on a more advanced scale and with DNA restructuring. While this is a futuristic story, it is interesting to note that the government banned computers; they are seen as subversive devices. The protagonist Bastion Del Freeman is desperate to join Aquarius Corporation, as he’s an atheist and accidentally told his girlfriend this. He’s the kind of guy that rebels against authority, by telling lies to your face twice, when you ask if he has read the Terms of Service for the contract. He acts like he’s from the hood, but the truth is a successful graduate student coping with the loss of his parents. As the story develops, Bastion realizes he wants to escape, but gets caught up in a war against humans to get rid of all life on earth. The religious tone is strong, as the story deals with the battle between science and religion. Throughout the novel, biblical quotes connect the storyline to religion to show just how relevant religion is despite how dated it may appear to some. Even in a world where you can change everything about who you are, and play the role of God, religion can still play a role.
The writing of this novel is insightful and thought provoking. Smith illustrates the battle between science and religion in a unique way that doesn’t seem too far off from present day. The storyline may appear too implausible for some, but there are many present-day comparisons. While we may not be able to restructure our DNA, we can have cosmetic surgery and we can travel to a place where no one knows us. As more advanced medications are created, we’ll be able to combat diseases that were previously fatal. Science allows us to transform who we are and play the role of God. And what Smith does well in talking about these things, is capture the essence of our society in a futuristic setting to allow people to draw their own conclusions. He clearly illustrates the relevance of religion, despite scientific advancements, by blatantly adding quotes throughout the novel to allow people to draw connections. The only downside of this book is that it runs quite long and could have relayed the key messages in much fewer words. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this book, as it was quite difficult to put down. It captures your attention right from the beginning and holds it until the end. There are several lessons that can be learned and it really forces you to think about how you should live your own life.
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