In his latest novel, Robertson has postulated an interesting variation on the science fiction theme of artificially extended human life. It is termed a “meld,” and involves a procedure that will allow the recipient to live 20 years from the date of planting in the body with the added benefit of contracting no diseases. Upon the final day of the allotted two decades, the individual will pass away quietly and with no real pain. The custom, as outlined in the author’s novel, is for most individuals to go for testing on their 55th birthday and if they have no mortal illnesses they will be “melded.”
Colin Tugdale has only one year to live under the terms of the Meld agreement and has already accompanied his wife Ruby to her death by suicide in order not to undergo the meld “conclusion.” By coincidence, he then meets two people that throw his beliefs into chaos. The first is a man that “died” at the end of his 20 years, and another a woman that hacked her way via computer into taking the treatment when she is physically not qualified to have it. The man is seen calmly walking around in public, and the woman initiates contact with Colin with the two falling in love.
The novel touches on the feelings of people facing the end of their lives with the certain knowledge that it will come at a date known to them. The question of how one “dead” man and a sick woman are where they are touches on the real possibility of corruption existing in the selection process, and if this life and death activity is really subject to illegal maneuvering.
A very different novel, one that is beyond any doubt a book that cannot be put down until done, and of course, a story that will cause the reader to seek Robertson’s future works.
10/19 Paul Lane
CONCLUSION by Peter Robertson. Gibson House Press; None edition (October 1, 2019). ISBN 978-1948721042. 256p.