The Synthetic Race is a story concerning a dying race from another planet that has had to come up with technology placing a living brain into a synthetic body to preserve themselves from destruction by overpopulation, war, pollution, and diseases. They are trying to develop a totally synthetic brain but only succeed in creating a group of lesser creatures that try to kill them to retain power and control. The composites are forced to travel to a distant planet, Earth, to find compatible brains to continue their research. They have control of time, so they come back in the time of the dinosaurs and put their DNA into creatures that eventually evolve into people like them. Returning in 2003, they rescue Ellen James, who helps them to finally develop a totally synthetic brain. They return to their planet and leave Ellen in charge to shepherd Earth.
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Jack Randall uses actual themes from current events, as well as historical personalities as the background for his enjoyable science fiction tale. Set in both the past and the present, the novel introduces us to the Gnormen, a race wrestling with similar problems of pollution, disease and over-population common to our own time. In addition, the Gnormen, through their attempts to find sustainable solutions to these issues, are eagerly trying to attain the 'Holy Grail' of goals: immortality. In need of biological building blocks to reach their goal, the Gnormen look to seed the galaxy with life in the hopes of creating beings which will prove suitable for the final transposition of biological to artificial. Possessing the ability to traverse time, the Gnormen return to an earlier epoch in the galaxy's history and set in motion the steps to bring about what proves to be their last best hope - the human race. Randall interposes many famous individuals whose disappearances through the years have become legend. The role these individuals play in the unfolding of the story is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the novel. The Synthetic Race is a fast and fun read for both science fiction fans as well as history buffs interested in the missing and 'lost at sea' stories that have become part of our common lore. I very much enjoyed the entire novel and would recommend it to anyone.
This story describes aliens from the planet Mekan, called Gnormen,that have had to develop synthetic bodies to survive certain problems now beginning here on Earth. These parallels with current day Earth will be recognized and vehemently adhered to or denied by the pertinent readers. Some of the famous people rescued (and thus restored to life again) are fun to remember and seemingly quite factually researched. The destruction of the dinosaurs and the formation of the asteroid belt in our solar system is handled in an interesting manner in the story as well. The heroine is Ellen James, a history professor who spouts logic and caring in her discussions with other characters in the book that make her well loved in the story. It will make her very readable in any sequels the author may be considering writing. There are a couple of non-famous fictional characters that are rescued that are quite enjoyable as well. The sex in the book is from another era; and quite pleasant to encounter. There is a medical explanation for the development in Gnor-humans of a common male functioning organ that is quite unique; it may start some urologists thinking. The book is written in a way that is fast reading and difficult to put down. I believe it would make a very good movie or TV series; there are scenes in the story that would lend themselves especially to the current use of computer technology.