Thursday, May 2, 2013

Barely Human

Gangster by M. Jones

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for are review.

Summary: From the dark, basement speakeasies of 1926 Chicago, to the decadent parties of the Hollywood elite, psychopathic Clara slices her way through various people across America in her quest for fame. Brought along for the whirlwind ride of her murderous rampage, her enigmatic alien companion patiently waits for the opportunity to find his own target, a former friend set for assassination. He doesn't understand Clara's random need to destroy, but then, he is new to this strange, human landscape of murderers and victims. He can't wait to simply do his job and leave this vicious world behind.

Review: Technically a science fiction story, more of a statement on the condition of humanity.

Gangster, on the surface, is a story about an alien creature who has come to earth to kill a target before he can return to his home planet. The details of the alien, the alien’s mission, and his home planet are very limited. The reader learns that the alien is a liquid sort of mass that can inhabit dead bodies and likes motor oil (it’s like a drug to him). He’s formed a working relationship of sorts with Clara who kills people for fun. She’s convinced him that his target is in California and off they go.

A number of adventures ensue with plenty of death, murder, and mayhem. The alien meets another of his species and keeps having people call him Frankie. I am not sure how sane Clara actually is. She does make a number of important insights. Clara and the alien are actually more alike than they realize with their disregard for human life. They each have their reasons, but it is murder just the same. What justifies murder? Is it ever justifiable? The ending is especially powerful. Being human does not give us humanity. We must earn humanity.


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that enjoy philosophical science fiction or books that you make you think.

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