fighting the lack of good ideas

the personifid project

It’s not often I read Christian fiction – too often some (or even most) the doctrines embraced and promulgated by the authors are not ones I agree with.

I was very pleasantly surprised to fine that R E Bartlett’s book, The Personifid Project was not like that. It’s even a great example of science fiction, in my opinion (wherein my definition of “science fiction” requires the “science” to be plausible inside the world the story creates).

Imagine a world centuries from now where the oceans have evaporated, Man lives in artificially-contained and -supported cities, transportation is automated, and Man has developed the technology to transfer a soul from its original body and place it into an artificial one. That is the world Ms Bartlett creates.

The cover asks an intriguing question, which indeed is why I bought a copy: “when souls reside in artificial bodies.. do they still have free will?”

A huge corporation, Sevig Empire, has created and markets personifids – artificial bodies wherein your soul can reside after discontinuation of your physical body so that humankind can finally escape the eventuality of death. The prime engineering point of the entire technology was a woman named Lavinia (“Lev”), and a man named Ryan. But after a failed transfer of Ryan’s wife, Lev gives-up on the whole enterprise, preferring to die than to be responsible for another failed transfer.

Jump forward 4 years. We meet Aphra who works at Sevig Empire. She has become attached to Ryan in the intervening time since his wife’s discontinuation, but is then unwittingly exposed to a nefarious plot by Sevig (the founder/owner of Sevig Empire) regarding the personifids. In her attempt to escape, she is found and helped by Lev and her husband Birn – Followers of the “Triune Soul” (the future world term for Christians).

Ms Bartlett does a great job of not being preachy about her characters’ faith – but also outlines the basic tenets of Christianity in a way that informs, but does not (or, at least should not) alienate.

In comparison to other science fiction stories I have read, The Personifid Project is similar to Minority Report, I, Robot (the Will Smith film version), Michael Crichton’s Next, and Surrogates – with a little Wall-E thrown-in for the environmental aspects.

  • Quality of writing: 4/5
  • Entertainment value: 5/5
  • Plausibility: 4/5
  • Consistency: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

I can’t wait to read her second book, The Personifid Invasion.