3 out of 4 stars
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Joanna Carter, a renowned molecular biologist for her Protean Program Theory, has been working for NASA in the “Project” that “promised to be the most groundbreaking advancement for the entire human race.” The “Project” was going according to plan until one day Joanna wakes up on the floor of her laboratory. She is not hurt. She has not been attacked. The only thing out of place is the shattered Petri dish under her electron microscope. The sample is ruined. She could start a new culture before going home, but she realizes she simply does not want to. In fact, “something has changed.” Joanna is extremely aware of her surroundings. She observes everything meticulously, yet everything has lost its meaning. Her feeling of detachment from the world is so intense that she starts asking herself philosophical questions. “Is this what the world is meant to be?” “Who am I?” There is also an “It” that she does not understand. In I’m A Traveller by KL Watkins, Joanna embarks on an enlightening journey to find answers and discover what “It” is.
I’m A Traveller is a science fiction book of 219 pages that could also pass as a philosophical novel. As the plot centers on Joanna’s journey to enlightenment, most of the story takes place within her mind. The book is full with her observations of places, people, and the environment. While she observes the world, she scrutinizes her feelings of detachment, wrongness, and despair. Her main objective is to find out what “It” is, making the story one of contemplation and inquiry.
KL Watkins compels the reader to observe and feel what Joanna is observing and feeling. At the same time, Watkins conveys Joanna’s feelings of detachment and angst vividly. I did not like experiencing those feelings, but it demonstrates Watkins’ talent. Nevertheless, this book needs an editorial revision. I found many grammatical errors, and some sentences need better wording. An example is the following: “A hasty excuse that led and aimless wander to just outside a schoolyard playground right as recess ensues to spur a long forgotten memory of African painted dogs.”
What I liked the most about I’m A Traveller was its surprising and unnerving end. After Joanna’s long road of contemplation and inquiry, I was ready to know what “It” was. The reader has to pay close attention to the clues the author left throughout the novel. I paid attention and suspected what “It” could be. Either way, its discovery made my skin crawl. Literally, I felt shivers when I read that part. Besides having a revealing end, this book puts the reader to think long and hard about Joanna’s ruminations. The story lacks action, but presents a thought-provoking speculative scientific argument.
After some consideration, I rate I’m A Traveller by KL Watkins 3 out of 4 stars. I deducted a star because the book needs an editorial revision and lacks action. The story reads like a lengthy scientific and philosophical inquiry until the moment Joanna attains enlightenment. I considered deducting another star because of the storyline’s slow pace. However, I realized that this story requires a detailed mental process, and its end makes the wait worth it. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy science fiction, speculative fiction, and philosophy about the meaning and origin of life.
I'm A Traveller
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