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Doctor Carl Dorning, a neurosurgeon, finally discovers a secret method of transplanting memories from one person to another, thanks to Marlowe's millions.
Miguel Sanchez, a homeless boy, agrees to become the recipient of Marlowe's knowledge and personality in this unorthodox experiment, ...
Doctor Carl Dorning, a neurosurgeon, finally discovers a secret method of transplanting memories from one person to another, thanks to Marlowe's millions.
Miguel Sanchez, a homeless boy, agrees to become the recipient of Marlowe's knowledge and personality in this unorthodox experiment, enticed by Dorning's promises of intelligence, wealth and respect, but dangerously unaware that his own identity will be lost forever.
What results is a seesaw battle for control of Miguel's body, as Marlowe learns to his dismay what his lifetime of arrogance and conceit has earned him.
And when Marlowe stumbles upon the shocking procedure Dorning used in desperation to succeed, the professor does what he must to defeat Dorning and redeem himself at last.
Cambridge, England 1924
In all of his fifteen years, nothing mattered more to him than this.
The poolside bleachers were filled to capacity, the students intense in their crisp red and white uniforms, the faculty men serious in their school sweaters and sturdy black bowlers. They clapped and cheered as he lined up with the rest of the swim team qualifiers for the final race. He faced the end lane, having barely earned a berth.
"I didn't sleep very well last night," he said over the din to the taller, more muscular teen next to him. "Did you?"
The teen scoffed, stretched up on his tiptoes as if to emphasize the physical difference between them then rolled his shoulders to loosen up. "I slept like a baby. That comes from having confidence. Something you must not possess."
Another school cheer went up from the tightly packed crowd, echoing in the cavernous, tiled room. One of the swimmers dipped his foot in the smooth water, sending ripples on their way to the other side.
The smaller boy waved his arms about to limber up. "It's not that, it's just that it all comes down to this, our last and most important race of the season. School champion." He looked at the mass of spectators on either side of the pool with scarcely concealed trepidation.
The teen regarded him with a brief sneer. "That's right. And frankly, I'm shocked you actually made it this far, Marlowe."
"Well I did, didn't I?"
"Doesn't matter. Everyone's certain you're going to lose, you know. You're just a brainy underclassman, not a true athlete like me." He flexed prominent biceps to make his point. "Go back toyour books, bookworm. You're no threat."
Percival drew himself up, his expression dark. "We'll see about that, my good man."
The teen sneered again as he twisted from side to side. "I suppose we will."
A group of teenage girls clapped in unison, and then one of them held up a paper sign with the tall teen's name scrawled on it.
The teen waved to them. They squealed and waved back, bouncing up and down.
"See that, Marlowe? How can I possibly lose with them cheering me on?"
Percival stared wistfully at the auburn-haired girl with the sign as he now twisted. "I could win it."
The teen scoffed. "Not likely. This is for all the glory. I'm not going to let it get away. The rewards will be great and many, if you know what I mean." He nodded at the girls then glanced at Percival with scorn. "But then again, I don't think that you do."
The swimming coach stepped forward, satisfied with the team's preparation.
The young swimmers assumed their start positions as the crowd quieted down.
"May the best man win," Percival offered.
"Yes," said the teen. "And that will be me."
The coach raised a silver whistle, a stopwatch in his other hand.
"Steady now, gentlemen."
The swimmers leaned forward, muscles tensed.
The sound of the whistle launched them.
He flopped into the water, a terrible start. All Percival saw were the feet of the other swimmers as they sped away.
He dug in, his arms flying and legs kicking furiously. They all reached the other side and turned around at nearly the same time.
His lungs aching, he swam with an intensity he never had before, determined to prove everyone wrong.
He drew even with the leader, the tall teen next to him. The teen looked startled to see him, and in that instant, lost his rhythm and faltered.
Percival took advantage of the teen's mistake, and took the lead.
The teen swam frantically to close the distance in the last few feet, but Percival lunged forward and touched the wall half a heartbeat before the teen did.
The coach stood in front of Percival's lane, staring at the stopwatch with surprise and delight. He raised his hand to silence the excited chattering in the room, everyone now on their feet. The only sound was that of the swimmers' labored breathing.
"The winner, with a new school record, Percival Marlowe!"
Percival's arms shot up out of the water as the bleachers erupted in a roar of approval.
The tall teen turned his back to him, and the other swimmers huddled to whisper in amazement.
They all climbed out and grabbed their towels to dry off for the award ceremony. Percival acknowledged the congratulations from several of his teammates--solid pats on his back and playful shoves--then stepped up to the top of the three-level award stand for the first time. He bent down to allow his coach to slip a medal on a red and white ribbon over his head. A fresh chorus of cheers went up from the crowd. As he shook his coach's hand, he saw the group of girls applauding for him now.
He straightened up, boldly raised his right arm to point at the one who still held the sign with the vanquished teen's name on it. Aware they weren't the chosen one, the girls around her leaned away. With an innocent look, the auburn-haired girl grasped the sign in the middle with both hands, then grinned and tore it in half.
On the second tier, the tall teen scowled and lowered his head.
Percival raised two fists in the air as he listened to the crowd chant his name, absorbing their adulation. Then he held out the medal for them to see, looked closely at it himself, even took a whiff of it before letting it drop back down to his chest. He wondered how, in all of life still stretching ahead of him, he would ever equal or surpass this moment, and could only conclude that would be impossible. This was, and would forever be, his one best, defining moment--the time when his life truly began, forever and ever and ever...
Posted September 18, 2009
I read this book based on what I now consider to be some overly generous reviews, particularly those that compared it favorably to Flowers for Algernon. I was disappointed. The idea is great; the writing is not. The dialogue was like nails on a chalkboard after awhile -- it was awkward, stilted and unrealistic. Miguel's dialogue was particularly off the mark for a homeless boy with Spanish speaking parents. Beyond the writing, the story itself did not live up to the 4- and 5-star reviews. Rather than gradually acquiring Percival's memories, Miguel would essentially morph into Percival from time to time (a la The Shaggy Dog). The author would have benefitted from either expanding the novel, with more time devoted to the personal and social ramifications of the experiment, or condensing it to a short story. I'm giving the book 2 stars based on the interesting premise and two ultimately likeable characters, Percival and Miguel. (Dorning is one-dimensional.) I would also recommend better proofreading for Wakely's next effort!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 26, 2008
Young Percival Marlowe was a typical science geek; elderly Professor Marlowe is a Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist who needs more time to complete all of the brilliant projects he has yet to share with the world. Unable to find a way to retrieve his own youth, Marlowe backs the project of neurosurgeon Carl Dorning, hoping but never truly believing that Dorning's revolutionary technique of transplanting memories will prove successful by the time Marlowe's rapidly-approaching death arrives. <BR/><BR/>Dorning knows that he only has one shot at transplanting Marlowe's essence, and realizes that the Professor doesn't have much time. When he meets a young homeless boy, Miguel Sanchez, all of the pieces begin to fall into place. But, when Marlowe finally realizes that this procedure may actually happen, he begins to question the moral implications of Dorning's potential success: "You've wrestled with the procedures and won, but not with the long term consequences, Dorning. Don't you see? If you're successful, you might have found a unique way to create a new class of slaves" (p. 42). <BR/><BR/>Mark Wakely's first novel tackles some big issues, forcing the reader to weigh the value of the life of a genius of science against that of an illiterate street urchin. Is the potential value of continuing a life already proven invaluable to mankind worth the sacrifice of one homeless boy who doesn't even know his own age? Or is the unique spirit Miguel brings to humanity more important than all of the equations and theories a second life for Professor Marlowe could offer? <BR/><BR/>2006 EPPIE Award <BR/><BR/>2003 Authorlink New Author Award for Science Fiction <BR/><BR/>2002/03 Fountainhead Productions National Writing Contest Winner <BR/><BR/>2003 Writemovies.com International Writing Competition, FinalistWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 20, 2007
Young Percival Marlowe was a typical science geek elderly Professor Marlowe is a Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist who needs more time to complete all of the brilliant projects he has yet to share with the world. Unable to find a way to retrieve his own youth, Marlowe backs the project of neurosurgeon Carl Dorning, hoping but never truly believing that Dorning¿s revolutionary technique of transplanting memories will prove successful by the time Marlowe¿s rapidly-approaching death arrives. Dorning knows that he only has one shot at transplanting Marlowe¿s essence, and realizes that the Professor doesn¿t have much time. When he meets a young homeless boy, Miguel Sanchez, all of the pieces begin to fall into place. But, when Marlowe finally realizes that this procedure may actually happen, he begins to question the moral implications of Dorning¿s potential success: ¿You¿ve wrestled with the procedures and won, but not with the long term consequences, Dorning. Don¿t you see? If you¿re successful, you might have found a unique way to create a new class of slaves¿ (p. 42). Mark Wakely¿s first novel tackles some big issues, forcing the reader to weigh the value of the life of a genius of science against that of an illiterate street urchin. Is the potential value of continuing a life already proven invaluable to mankind worth the sacrifice of one homeless boy who doesn¿t even know his own age? Or is the unique spirit Miguel brings to humanity more important than all of the equations and theories a second life for Professor Marlowe could offer? 2006 EPPIE Award 2003 Authorlink New Author Award for Science Fiction 2002/03 Fountainhead Productions National Writing Contest Winner 2003 Writemovies.com International Writing Competition, Finalist **Reviewed by: Mechele R. DillardWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 30, 2007
We read this in class. It reminded me of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens or maybe Flowers for Algernon, another book we read. Wakely's book is about a memory transfer from a dying old genius to a young uneducated boy, but it's more than that. It's about all the amazing discoveries being made in medical science such as cloning and stem cell research, and it questions how wise we really are to play God with those discoveries, if we really know what we're doing and what the long term consequences might be. I also liked the two characters Miguel (the young boy) and Percival (the old professor). An Audience for Einstein is a very thoughtful book that I can recommend.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 6, 2006
This novel reminds me a great deal of A Christmas Carol, much more so than Flowers for Algernon. Professor Marlowe is clearly a Scrooge character, since he gets the chance to revisit his past and discover that his legacy isn't nearly as golden as he thought. The comparisons to Flowers for Algernon are less pronounced, although both are about brain experiments that don't turn out quite as expected. And I agree it's more of a fable than science fiction, but that's not a bad thing. It's also well-written and held my interest, with a very touching ending. I can see where this would appeal greatly to the young adult crowd, although I enjoyed it too.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 13, 2006
This book has a big heart. Above and beyond the intriguing concept (which so many reviewers have outlined) there's a kind of wistful quality here, a yearning to relive a celebrated past that turns out to be just an old man's sad illusion. The sweep of the story- from child, to elderly and frail, to child again- takes us through the ages in a book that only spans a few weeks at best, such is the power and pull of memory. There's a playfulness here too, a give-and-take between characters that's endearing, and helps give the book its soul. I cared about these characters, and nearly wept at the end when one of them pays the ultimate price to correct a terrible injustice. I hope this book wins many readers- especially among its intended, the young adults- because the lessons it contains are valid ones, worthy of consideration. This is a book with heart for those of us who are young at heart, no matter what your age. I'm pleased to have read it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 10, 2006
This book is something of a rarity. Sincere, significant and with a positive message, An Audience for Einstein harkens back to an era when morality wasn't so ambiguous and the difference between right and wrong not so hazy. But don't think the book is stuffy or takes itself too seriously- this is a fun read, only mildly risqué and light on bad words. Although rightfully labeled as a young adult title, readers of all ages will enjoy the story of how one old man- brilliant and full of himself- comes to realize that the 'simple things' in life are what really matter as he makes a unique journey of self-discovery, one that takes him to his ultimate redemption. Well-written, entertaining and with something worthwhile to say, An Audience for Einstein deserves to be widely read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 2, 2005
Wakely's novel starts with a prologue that seems inconsequential at first, but then looms in importance as the story unfolds. After a tad slow (but always interesting) beginning, the story takes off early on and it's unlikely you'll find a place to stop once you're hooked. At 'only' 176 pages, you won't loose a whole night's sleep if you start it in the evening, but you'll definitely miss your bedtime. This is a real character-driven novel. It's not about gizmos or gadgets like some science fiction. (Although, as someone once said, 'not that there's anything wrong with that.') I cared about these characters, the story is clever and bold, the dialogue positively crackles, and the descriptions and settings are crisp and vivid. It's one of those books so well-written, it seems almost effortless as it flows along, taking you with. I would compare it to Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, but with a bittersweet ending rather than a tragic 'downer' ending like Keyes' book. And Wakely seems to have learned a thing or two from Dickens- the main character learns a critical life lesson a la Scrooge, and another is a modern version of one of Dickens' homeless street urchins. There's even a touch of Doctor Frankenstein here, in the form of the zealous doctor whose frightening medical breakthrough drives the action. Bottom line: An Audience for Einstein now has a permanent place on my bookshelf. It's a keeper.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 23, 2005
Professor Percival Marlowe is an elderly astrophysicist. The former Nobel Prize winner is one of the most brilliant scientific people of our century. He is at the brink of completing his greatest research. However, due to his rapidly declining health there is not enough time to finish it before he dies. ...................... Doctor Carl Dorning was a highly regarded neurosurgeon who had a brain storm during an operation. He resigned from his work in order to turn his time toward proving his idea. For almost twenty years Carl secretly works in his basement lab on transferring one person's memories into another person's mind. Carl finally convinces Percival, the man he respects above all others, to fund the experiments. ..................... Miguel Sanchez is a homeless, pre-teen boy. His mother is recovering in a medical facility. He has no idea where his cruel father currently is. So Miguel lives on the street with a few older kids, begging cash from passing traffic. Carl convinces Miguel to live with Percival for awhile and keep the fading professor company during his last days. In return, Miguel will have a roof over his head, three meals a day, and then receive 'the gift of truly superior intelligence'. ................... Percival and Miguel believes Carl's experimental surgery would transfer Percival's memories into Miguel's brain. Then Miguel would either instantly gain Percival's intelligence or occasionally get flashes of the elderly man's memories. Either way, someone would always remember Percival. Carl did not bother to inform either of them that only one set of memories could exist in the boy's head. ................. As the memories and essence of an astrophysicist comes forth, all that is the boy will be lost forever. The result is a tug-of-war for ownership of an eleven-year-old's body. ........................................... **** A scary look at the world of science when an intelligent doctor's morals become twisted. The wish for immortality can be all consuming. Even when one knows that it is morally wrong to take without asking, especially in this manner, the temptation can still be great. Readers get a glimpse into how even the most brilliant minds alive can fear death, try to cheat it, and (hopefully) learn to let go. Do not begin this book believing that you can guess the outcome. This is a very good sci-fi that will leave you in deep thoughts long after you finish reading. ****Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.