Tag Archives: Utilitarian Bioethics

The Games by Ted Kosmatka

Synopsis: A geneticist prepares a computer-designed monster for competition in an Olympic gladiatorial competition between genetically engineered creatures, only the codes may have engineered the creature for more than just a game. Review: The Games is a fast-paced, scary thriller that harkened back to Michael Crichton’s down-and-dirty days. I have to say I regretted finishing it so late at night! Creepy monster + creepy computer + gladiatorial spectacle = quite the riveting read. Plus the prose was better-than-average and I actually enjoyed the author’s style.…

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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Synopsis: A professional “carer” recalls her idyllic school days, which mask a horror that she and her friends “know but don’t know.” Review: Never Let Me Go is one of my favorite all-time books, and this is the third time I’ve read it. Big life upheavals, like having a baby, always send me back to books I know I’ll enjoy, as a way to comfort myself through a major life transition. If you’ve read it, you’ll know that it’s a strange one to read while…

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The Healers by Thomas Heric

Synopsis: Recruited by an elite medical society, an idealistic doctor discovers dark plans at odds with their stated mission to heal. Review: When I tell you that the secret of The Healers is Nazis, don’t worry, I’m not giving anything away–it’s right on the spine of the book. Set in the year 2021, the book posits a worst-case scenario where rising health costs have put medical care in the hands of only the wealthy. There are a lot of scenes where one character lectures another…

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Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Synopsis: A boy marked for termination and organ harvesting escapes into a world where he has no legal right to live. Review: I heard about Unwind from the Queens Library, in an email newsletter talking up good new young adult books. I’m so glad that I did, because it’s a dystopian thrill ride in the same vein as Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies trilogy, only with the same intellectual depth and emotional heart that you find in Lois Lowry’s The Giver. Here’s the deal with unwinding. Anyone…

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The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle

Synopsis: A summer job turns into a game of strategy with potentially deadly consequences for a young aspiring scientist hoping to learn more about the implications of the regenerative powers of starfish. Review: Of course I had to read a L’Engle as soon as humanly possible, and I wanted to read one I hadn’t read before. I was unaware that The Arm of the Starfish featured some of the characters from the Wrinkle in Time books, most notably, Polyhymnia O’Keefe from An Acceptable Time. I…

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Emotional Reads

I like to be moved by literature, which is why I don’t go crazy for metafiction or postmodernism or overly intellectual fiction (Don DeLillo, Thomas Pyncheon, etc.). Such was the book I read yesterday for work. Otter asks, What are the five books in your library (or memory) that stirred the greatest emotive reaction in you? What I mean is, what five (or more) books most brought you close to tears, laughter, anger, whatever? Share on Facebook

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The Ruins by Scott Smith

Synopsis: A jungle adventure turns into a nightmare when six tourists find themselves trapped in a clearing, unable to leave without being shot by Mayans, and finding a gory secret that brings new definition to the word flesh-eating. Review: I had to finish The Ruins during the day time, because I really did not want to face the heebie-jeebies again tonight. This book is scary, y’all–one of the scariest I’ve read in quite some time. It’s scary like I like, too, not just gore and…

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One Door Away from Heaven by Dean Koontz

Synopsis: Young Leilani has a deformed hand and a brace on her leg–and she’s just told her alcoholic ex-con neighbor that her differences are why her deranged doctor stepfather and whacked-out druggie mother are going to kill her unless she’s abducted by aliens when she turns 10. Review: I read this book because it was recommended by Wesley Smith, a leading voice against utilitarianism bioethics, which is the concept that death is the optimal choice for anyone living a less-than-perfect existence, physically speaking. Rather than…

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