A review of Suzanne Chuch’s “The Wind and the Sky” in Elements: A Collection of Speculative Fiction (Edge, 2014)
By Derek Newman-Stille
In a future where humanity neared extinction and have become a hunter-gatherer society watched over by androids in space, science has become religion for the artificial life forms above our world. Suzanne Church explores a society where science has become dictatorial, a religious system that must not be questioned.
Despite the threat of upgrade and memory erasure, Polnine has developed a fascination with humanity, with the wonders of a world beyond the artificial. His research into humanity is viewed as trivial at best and threatening to the social order at worst. His superiors believe that despite their mission to maintain human genetics and culture, their survival is enough to justify their role.
When Polnine escapes to the surface of Earth to temporarily escape software upgrade and experience contact with humanity and their planet. On the surface, he is even more convinced of the richness of experience on Earth, almost overwhelmed by the complexity of the ecosystem and intricacies of human interpersonal relationships.
Polnine must use the extents of his compassion to learn how to interact with humanity without causing offense or upset human beings who have mythologized his existence. Interacting with humanity, he is pulled into a space between the human and the artificial, challenging social perceptions of both.
Through the lens of the android, Suzanne Church explores the nature of religious extremism, and the religious nature of science as a discourse.
To find out more about Elements and other Edge books, visit their website at http://www.edgewebsite.com/ .
To discover more about Suzanne Church, visit her website at http://suzannechurch.com/wordpress/ .