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Mark Wakely
An Audience for Einstein
Mark Wakely, author

Young Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

​Professor Percival Marlowe is a brilliant, elderly astrophysicist who's dying, his greatest achievement still unfinished and now beyond his diminished means. Doctor Carl Dorning, a neurosurgeon, finally discovers a secret method of transplanting memories from one person to another, thanks to Marlowe's millions. Miguel Sanchez, a homeless boy, agrees to become the recipient of Marlowe's knowledge and personality in this unorthodox experiment, enticed by Dorning's promises of intelligence, wealth and respect but dangerously unaware that his own identity will be lost forever. What results is a seesaw battle for control of Miguel's body as Marlowe learns to his dismay what his lifetime of arrogance and conceit has earned him. And when Marlowe stumbles upon the shocking procedure Dorning used in desperation to succeed, the professor does what he must to defeat Dorning and redeem himself at last.
Through the framework of a contemporary sci-fi drama, Wakely offers a clear, enjoyable meditation on the value of a life. Professor Marlowe, an aging yet brilliant astrophysicist, is given the chance to be young again and continue his groundbreaking work by transferring his memories, and thereby his consciousness, into the mind of another. All that the creator and practitioner of this surgery, Doctor Dorning, has to do is find someone young who is willing to give up their life for Marlowe’s. He soon encounters what seems to him a fitting subject: an 11-year-old named Miguel, a boy who's living on the street and whose parents are in no situation to find him should he disappear. Of course, not everyone finds this ethical, including Professor Marlowe. But when it feels so good to be young, can principles endure? In the end, the boy’s life hangs on whether Marlowe will give himself up for Miguel–and whether Dorning, or anyone, will let him.

Wakely deftly articulates character and feeling through action, and uses tension to keep readers engaged, all while even incorporating some actual hard science, as per the author’s background in astronomy. Some nuance is lacking: Marlowe is written as a moral center and contrasts Dorning’s purely utilitarian worldview, but, while Marlowe is conflicted, he is complicit in the continued hijacking of a child’s body, and this complicity doesn’t get explored in depth. Such potentially rich character material might have given this thoughtful thriller more bite.

Still, this meditation about the value of a life is clear as are the characters that embody it. Dorning believes that achievement makes for a worthy life, while Marlowe recognizes that there’s more to life than just work–and that Miguel is an innocent caught up in all this. Couple this with an easy and readable writing style, and this is a succinct narrative that hits most of the elements of a compelling morality play.

Takeaway: This short, accessible science-fiction morality play compellingly considers the value of a life.

Great for fans of: Charles Soule’s Anyone: A Novel, Robert J. Sawyer’s Mindscan.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A-

From the review:

This novel is well-designed, fast paced, and does a great job keeping readers interested but not overwhelmed by the movement throughout the story line. Even more, the plot is layered with twists and riddles that will keep the readers guessing all the way through the end. Wakely does a good job using the characters and situations to study the human condition. As they work their way through the story, readers must face their own self-examinations and internal doubts, staring down the darker parts of human nature. It also provides a great fictional exploration of the moral dilemmas of science and knowledge...One of An Audience for Einstein's strong points is the well-developed and dynamic characters. It is easy to get attached to the professor and the young boy, dragging readers' emotions along with theirs. While this may be a book geared more towards boys with its predominate male characters, it is one that both genders should give a chance.

The Huffington Post

An Audience for Einstein is among the top nine young adult science fiction novels of all time according to The Huffington Post. This article was for the original edition published by Mundania Press. The latest edition was published by Canoe Tree Press, a division of DartFrog Books.