3 out of 4 stars
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In Chimera Conflict by Robert Wilson Morgan, Dr. Roger Scully was involved in a ghastly accident that cost him his whole lower limb. Unwilling to live with such a disability, he opted for a rather unorthodox surgery — a hemicorporectomy (a brain transplant). Dr. Wong performed the procedure at a hospital in Harbin, China. The surgery gave him a new body and a new life. With his girlfriend, Zhou Lishan, by his side, his recovery progressed well. However, Roger didn't anticipate the issues that would follow such a surgery. The challenges ranged from personal, ethical, political, and societal uncertainties. The book chronicled his journey of navigating through all the challenges and stigma of his strange transformation.
This book was quite informative with the details that it provided. On the one hand, readers who were unaware of the peculiar way that the Chinese health system obtained organs for its transplant would find intriguing enlightenment in this book. On the other hand, the author transported readers to a future where a medical impossibility was possible — a possibility that could save thousands of lives. It would be a medical feat that would rekindle hope and give people a new lease on life. The creativity was commendable. However, just as the author showed in the book, such medical advancement could raise many questions of ethics, not only for society at large but also for the recipients of such advanced medical practice. The story in this book could help shape the minds of readers and indeed the whole world and prepare them for a future like the one in the book.
The author used his characters to reveal the book's plot. For instance, through Lishan, I got to know what had happened to Dr. Roger. In the same way, through Dr. Roger, I knew of his story with his late wife, Joanne. While characters could advance a story's plot, the book's use of this method lacked excitement and intrigue. The way the characters revealed the book's plot was akin to presenters reading from a prompter. It was too mechanical and unappealing. There was a lack of depth in the characters' personalities, which could be attributed to the absence of a wholesome background that I could have connected with to aid my understanding of the characters. The information only came in small bits that failed to present a complete picture of the characters' personalities. For instance, with Dr. Roger, aside from his past marriage, I had no idea the kind of person he was before the point where the book started. Even the conversations were also mechanical and had no thrill in them. Overall, the characters could do with a little more flesh.
However, one thing that readers may identify within the story is the question of identity. The journey of discovering 'self' has, for centuries, become the bane of human existence. As shown in the book, readers can take this journey like Roger: as a realization that one need not be defined in any specific way. In all, the idea of the book is quite interesting concerning the facts that form its inspiration. However, much improvement can be made to the characters and the general delivery of the story.
This book would most appeal to readers of medical fiction. The editing was okay. Therefore, I'd rate this book three out of four stars. The one-star deduction was because of the issue I raised.
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