The Curiosity

The title of Stephen P. Kiernan's debut novel, The Curiosity, represents many things: the curiosity of scientists about the central "subject," the subject's view of his new world... and how that world perceives him.

After Dr. Kate Philo and a team of scientists discover a man encased in an iceberg in the Arctic, they bring him back to their lab in Boston and reanimate him. The man wakes and tells Dr. Philo his name is Jeremiah Rice; he was a judge with a wife and young daughter before he fell overboard from an exploration vessel in 1906.

Dr. Philo becomes Judge Rice's protector and tour guide, taking him around the city, slowly falling for him along the way. But a growing faction believes it's blasphemous for scientists to mess with life and death, and some want to shut down the project. They may not have to, however, because Judge Rice's resurrection has an expiration date.

The initial exposition takes almost 100 pages before Judge Rice wakes up, but once he does, the story kicks into gear. The novel's biggest appeal is the poignant relationship between Judge Rice and Dr. Philo, and his excursions around the city, especially at a Red Sox game, make witty fish-out-of-(ice)-water scenarios. The ending leaves some threads untied, but the story does ask provocative questions about whether science should explore altering life's natural order, and the judge and the scientist will make readers care about the debate. --Elyse Dinh-McCrilllis, freelance writer and editor, blogging at Pop Culture Nerd

Powered by: Xtenit