This short story by John Rosenman is an unusual take on a very different kind of cloning process, for entirely different reasons than most people would want. I don’t even like to use the word cloning because it takes away from what the story is really about. But to say more would be to drop spoilers and I don’t want to do that either.
In, Childhood’s Day, Rosenman uses the word reprography, which is like “a photograph of a photograph”, but in this instance a living 3d photograph of genetic material. Using the alias Steve Morrison, John, “Jack”, Winter, the main character enters a baker’s shop. The code name delivers him to a secret and highly illegal memory-cloning operation. The short blurb from Rosenman’s web page is this:
Suppose you could have yourself reborn at the age of seven so your childhood self could you help you cope with crippling guilt for the death of your father — would you do it? And would it be fair to the boy you once were, especially since he will live only one day?
It is not a far stretch of the imagination that we could invent something that could clone genetic material in the not so distant future. Yes, it’s possible. And with these possibilities what could we clone? What would we clone? With clear and precise prose, John Rosenman explores one of these questions and its results, reminding me of the questions Philip K. Dick explored in Ubik, a longer piece about memory and reality. I would mention whole brain emulation or mind uploading to computers and though this story touches on that subject it’s not what it’s about, so I won’t mention it.
You don’t have to be familiar with Ubik, memory technology, or cloning, to enjoy this short piece by Rosenman on your phone, tablet, kindle or nook, riding the subway on your way to work, or during your lunch break. It’s a story about childhood, memory and relationships and what lengths we’ll go to, and what choices we’ll make to search for answers that cause us to destroy our happiness in the present moment. The question is would you make a copy of yourself and why? For the price of a cup of gourmet coffee you can see how Rosenman explores this question in clear and plain prose in the manner of Poul Anderson and Frederick Pohl. He doesn’t try to impress us with a lot of technobabble, but gets right down to the heart of the story. Just the kind of science fiction I love to read.
Childhood’s Day by John B. Rosenman
review by Ruth J. Burroughs
For more stories by John visit his Gypsy page for excerpts here:
visit John’s website here: