The Last Christian

The Last Christian

4.2 36
by David Gregory
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In the future, it’s possible to live forever—but at what cost?
 
A.D. 2088.
 
Missionary daughter Abigail Caldwell emerges from the jungle for the first time in her thirty-four years, the sole survivor of a mysterious disease that killed her village. Abby goes to America, only to discover a nation where Christianity hasSee more details below

Overview

In the future, it’s possible to live forever—but at what cost?
 
A.D. 2088.
 
Missionary daughter Abigail Caldwell emerges from the jungle for the first time in her thirty-four years, the sole survivor of a mysterious disease that killed her village. Abby goes to America, only to discover a nation where Christianity has completely died out. A curious message from her grandfather assigns her a surprising mission: re-introduce the Christian faith in America, no matter how insurmountable the odds.
 
But a larger threat looms. The world's leading artificial intelligence industrialist has perfected a technique for downloading the human brain into a silicon form. Brain transplants have begun, and with them comes the potential of eliminating physical death altogether—but at what expense? 
 
As Abby navigates a society grown more addicted to stimulating the body than nurturing the soul, she and Creighton Daniels, a historian troubled by his father's unexpected death, become unwitting targets of powerful men who will stop at nothing to further their nefarious goals. Hanging in the balance—the spiritual future of all humanity.
 
In this fast-paced thriller, startling near-future science collides with thought-provoking religious themes to create a spell-binding "what-if?" novel.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The hit sci-fi show Battlestar Galactica meets the New Testament in the new novel by Gregory (Dinner with a Perfect Stranger). In the year 2088, Christian missionary Abigail Caldwell leaves her New Guinea village to seek help for fellow villagers, who have all been stricken by a mysterious disease. A message from her grandfather, an American neuroscientist who is the co-inventor of a silicon brain replacement, draws her to America, where religion has died out. Abby joins forces with a historian who has a connection to Abby’s family as they investigate the death of her grandfather and face the spiritual implications of “transhumanity”—humans with replacement silicon brains that promise eternal life but make impossible personal connection with God. The plotting is intricate and imaginative, and the religious elements go beyond formula, though the political intrigue plot thread is less convincing. Gregory’s approach is fresh, and he’s produced a page-turner. (May)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307459060
Publisher:
The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/04/2010
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
215,581
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

PROLOUGE
 
APRIL 3, 2088
“I see your neurons firing, Ray.”
The voice was familiar, one Ray Caldwell had known for decades. Bryson Nichols’s face came into view overhead.
I must be on my back.
He had no such sensation. He tried to turn his head to the right, then the left. It didn’t respond. He tried moving his fingers. No sensation. Nothing. Panic swept through him. He was paralyzed.
“I brought you back to consciousness to let you know about the procedure.”
The procedure. On whom? There were no more procedures scheduled. Caldwell had canceled them all. Nichols’s face slid in and out of view as he hovered above and behind, wielding surgical instruments with which Caldwell was all too familiar.
No…He wouldn’t…
Nichols spoke calmly as he worked. “I do so apologize for having drugged you. But it was the only way. You know how much I’ve valued our working relationship—our friendship—these many years. I’d never do anything to jeopardize that friendship.
“But you were acting nonsensically, Ray. Halting the procedures at this point was sheer madness. I told myself it was the onset of disease, that you weren’t thinking straight. Or perhaps you were having cold feet about your own procedure. In any case, for your own good, I had to accelerate the schedule.”
Nichols paused, his upside-down face fixed in Caldwell’s line of vision, smiling. “Your alphas reveal your reluctance, but I do forgive your response, Ray. I know that, once the procedure is complete, we’ll see eye to eye.”
Caldwell examined Nichols’s face as he spoke. He was calm, purposeful, self-assured. No trace of consternation concerning the crime he was about to commit.
“Oh, Ray, to be free at last from the constraints of biological intelligence. How I wish I were in your shoes!”
The room fell silent save for Nichols’s movements and the methodical hum of neural scanners. Caldwell knew the routine. He had performed it himself numerous times, though not to completion.
Think! He had to think. Within the hour he would be disconnected from his biological brain…forever. If only he could talk, he could dissuade Nichols from— Nichols’s face reappeared. The procedure was ready, Caldwell intuited. Now was his final chance to change his destiny.
“…pat your hand, Ray. But I know you can’t feel it. I want you to know that I’ll be with you throughout.”
Nichols leaned closer to Caldwell’s face, his voice softening. “I have to admit, I’m envious. We had always planned on my being the one unveiled. And now it appears you will be the world-famous one—the first transhuman.”
He straightened up. “I could be bitter, being supplanted by you in that regard. But of what value, ultimately, is the recognition we receive for our achievements? Is it not of minor importance compared to the contribution we make to the advancement of our species—of the evolution of the universe itself ?”
Nichols glanced to his right. “I can tell by your scan that you still aren’t in full agreement.” He cocked his head slightly. “Ray, are your gammas spiking? I recognize that configuration. Are you trying to tell me something?”
He turned back toward his patient and shook his head. “You never cease to amaze me. I doubt any of our colleagues could manipulate their brain waves with such ease. That’s why I teamed up with you so many years ago. Always amazing.”
Nichols stepped away from Caldwell’s sight, then reappeared. “I’m putting you back to sleep now, Ray. When you wake up, everything will be complete. Your misgivings, whatever they may be, will be alleviated. You’ll be everything we have worked toward. Everything humanity has dreamed of for millennia. Our friendship, our partnership in this grand endeavor will continue. Shortly you’ll perform the procedure on me. The two of us will lead humanity into its greatest adventure.” He smiled broadly. “See you on the other side.”
With all his will Ray Caldwell commanded his arms to move, his legs to break free from the bands that held him to the surgical table. But it was no use. In a few moments he would lose consciousness. When he awoke, he would be missing the only thing that made life—existence
itself, even—worthwhile. Drowsiness stalked him. His mind began to swim.
Three hours and six minutes later Caldwell’s new brain powered up. He awoke. Electronic impulses coursed through the silicon mass that his cranium now housed.
Terror seized him. He bolted upright and scanned the room. His gaze landed upon the smiling face of Bryson Nichols standing four feet away.
“O brave new world that has such people in it, Ray. How do you feel, my friend?”
Past Nichols, in a glass jar, he spotted the three-pound mass of gray matter that had been extracted from him. His terror subsided into resigned grief.
What he had feared most had come to pass.
It was gone. Utterly gone. He had lost his connection.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >