The Legacy Human – This Is Palpable Intelligent Fiction At Its Best, For Any Age Reader
My review of The Legacy Human by Susan Kaye Quinn
With The Legacy Human, Susan Kaye Quinn is at the top of her speculative fiction game, mirroring the scientific discussion and activities of our world today to a future America where technology has allowed humans to Ascend to a mechanical, immortal existence, leaving behind the organic tethers of their physical selves for aesthetically superior machines. But not all Humans have Ascended, those that have not are Legacy. Eli is one of those. A prodigal painter set apart with other artisans to be given an opportunity to compete for the one prize that the Legacy Human’s most seek, Ascension. In order to attain immortality Eli must prove best in class at the annual games, impress the Ascended, and for that he and his loved ones will be granted immortality.
In this way, Eli follows the journey of the many heroes of the ancient Greek tales sent out to labor for the amusement of immortals. And we root for him, because, as any good hero, despite the great the desire to Ascend, he competes for those he loves.
That alone would make The Legacy Human a wonderful story.
The setting of the world of tomorrow is viscerally built though precise engineering and architecture that challenges me to question why we do not have the trains and craft and displays in use today, and the characters are developed to the detail that you will believe you know each of them; Eli’s trusted friend Cyrus, Kamali the Parisian dancer, and the Ascenders Marcus and Lenora, and so many more.
But it’s Quinn’s subtle use of societal and psychological reference that takes the story, Eli, and the reader farther than a mere race to the finish. As Eli meets other competitors, examines their viewpoints, and learns new realities of the world he thought he understood, the tale becomes one of his philosophical development.
We have all heard the quote “I think, therefore I am,” an off translation of the Latin phrase “cogito ergo sum,” which more exactly translated reads, “I am thinking, therefore I exist.” The Legacy Human takes this question further to let readers decide just what that existence is.
This is palpable intelligent fiction at its best, for any age reader. The premises set are neither declarative nor preachy, rather presented as an allegory in the most classic fashion.
What sets this story apart from others in the category such as Divergent and The Hunger Games is that the allegory is immediately applicable to every reader.
If a mind is immortal, what does that mean?
What does it mean to be me?
The answer, if there is one, is for the reader.