John Lohner, a paleoanthropologist on a dig in northern Kenya, is driven to distraction by an inner voice. But can he achieve peace of mind when the voice belongs to a mysterious life form intent on nurturing in him the only remaining pure strain of the alien genome responsible for mankind's humanity?
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About the Author
William E. Mason lives in Monument, Colorado with his wife Ulla on 10 acres of trees and red sandstone outcroppings at an elevation of 7,400 feet above sea level. They have two married sons and six grandchildren.
William was born in 1943 while his father was at Yale University obtaining his Doctorate in Anthropology, hence his upbringing and the basis of the anthropological themes in his writing.
The family subsequently moved to Hawaii where he lived until attending Verde Valley School, Sedona, Arizona, then to college at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, then to the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
After graduate school William joined the Peace Corps and was stationed as an architect in Tunis, Tunisia. Subsequently, he worked as a professional architect in New York, Nigeria, Hawaii and Saudi Arabia.
His series, Primordium explores his contention that mankind's humanity is a mistake deriving from stolen DNA planted in an ancient hominid that enabled hominids to evolve as conscious beings, culminating in Homo sapiens, creatures not meant to be, but creatures capable of curiosity and wonder. They look out at a closed universe they were not meant to see nor have the intelligence to comprehend.
When William isn't writing, he enjoys hiking Colorado Fourteeners, biking, cooking, remodeling his house, playing the guitar and carrying concealed. He has a tractor for the woods, uses a chainsaw regularly and plays tennis at a 4.0 USTA level. His favorite song is Hotel California.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reformation: based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
"In Mason’s debut sci-fi novel, a tormented anthropologist looking for the origins of mankind meets a not-quite-human girl who reminds him of a lost love. This work impressively shuttles backward and forward through the cosmos, speculating on humanity’s remote past and destined future, while largely remaining bound to the same setting: a few arid square miles in northern Kenya in 1985. That’s where John Lohner, a Harvard paleoanthropologist on an excavation site, tries to forget about the tragedies in his life—specifically, his mother’s suicide, his own suicide attempt, and the death of his fiancee, Diane, in a traffic accident. The fact that Lohner hears voices in his head doesn’t make things any easier. When he and his African assistant, Kamau, find an unnaturally pale, hairless, and nude girl, Mia, in a field, he’s shocked to find that she reminds him of Diane. Readers, however, already know that Mia, perceived by natives as a “witch,” is actually a synthetic humanoid—a sort of ephemeral scout created by a mysterious, spaceborne entity called the Shepherd, which travels through time and space by using black holes. Four million years ago, the Shepherd clashed with a marauding artificial intelligence called A4-Ni over the custody of Gilomir, a precious, sentient genome sequence. The two wounded combatants tumbled to primordial Earth, where Gilomir sowed the seeds for intelligent Homo sapiens. Now the Shepherd and A4-Ni, with inhuman patience, near a showdown, in which Lohner unwittingly plays an important part. In lesser hands, this obtuse material could have gone completely off the rails. However, Mason doles out the story’s mind-stretching revelations, on an Olaf Stapledon–like scale, and pathos with fair skill, keeping the narrative’s key features carefully hidden or flat-out confounding. In his flights of imagination, he sometimes spins sheer prose-poetry out of genetic-science terminology, practically singing of haploids, nucleotides, chromosomes, and amino acids (“A4-Ni stored her methodology in a genetic lockbox she constructed in his Y chromosome”). A sequel, Primordium Book Two: Renaissance, has already been published. An ambitious tale with compelling concepts but one that’s dauntingly dense—even for sci-fi readers raised on the temporal loops of Doctor Who." --- Kirkus Reviews