Book: The Clone Codes
Author: The McKissacks
Rating: Three Stars
The Clone Codes is a children's futuristic sci-fi novel about Earth in the year 2170 on the cusp of intergalactic travel. But pushing into the vacuum of space does not always mean a society is advanced, or has paid its dues with regard to science, ethics, and technology. Gross segregation occurs worldwide as clones are used in schools, homes, and businesses. Little more than slaves, genetically altered and chipped to be easily controlled, clones are the center of a glaring slaveocracy, a dark mark on humanity.
The McKissacks want to focus on the plight of clones, the fight for sentience, the exploration into what is human and "real" as well as intermesh critical historical references and personages. But the overall feel of the book seems more like a class history lesson than the tangible conflict that one would expect when dealing with these issues.
As a teenage girl whose mother was just arrested for seditious and treasonous activities and exploring her own genetic roots, Leanna Deberry is strangely benign when she discovers the unfathomable. When dealing with issues of sentience, one would think that Leanna would run the gamut of emotion. A wide emotional spectrum is expected because well..the issue is LARGE when dealing with what makes a human...Human. Philosophers have agonized about this for countless centuries...Descartes in particular. This theme has also played out in so many sci-fi novels that I cannot even list them here, but the ones at the top of my list are Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Asimov's I, Robot.
Taking into consideration the intended audience, middle-schoolers will find The Clone Codes an interesting and fast read that will fire up their creative neurons, but anyone older, even tweens might recognize it for the light fare it is. Overall, I did enjoy the book, the setting, the colloquialisms, the descriptions of technology, and the pace were all very engaging but missing that elemental emotional component. Remember...Watership Down might have been a children's book, but within its pages were tangible bittersweet emotion and compassion that endeared it to readers for generations.
A Fiendishly Bookish Review