Flashback Friday is my own little weekly tradition, in which I pick a book from my reading past to highlight. If you’d like to join in, here are the Flashback Friday book selection guidelines:
- Has to be something you’ve read yourself
- Has to still be available, preferably still in print
- Must have been originally published 5 or more years ago
Other than that, the sky’s the limit! Join me, please, and let us all know: what are the books you’ve read that you always rave about? What books from your past do you wish EVERYONE would read? Pick something from five years ago, or go all the way back to the Canterbury Tales if you want. It’s Flashback Friday time!
My picks for this week’s Flashback Friday:
The Boys From Brazil by Ira Levin (published 1976)
Joshua Son of None by Nancy Freedman (published 1973)
It’s a cloning two-fer! What was going on in the American psyche in the 1970s that made the topic of cloning both so fascinating and so frightening?
The Boys From Brazil is a very scary story about a secret plot to clone Hitler. Joshua Son of None is a not-quite-as-scary story about efforts to clone a Kennedy-esque US President. Both present cloning at a time when it was a new and hypothetical possibility, something out of science fiction dreams that only recently contained the first inklings of real, feasible scientific accomplishment. Both books address the role of upbringing and environment in human development: Is it enough to carry a certain genetic code in order to achieve the desired results, or does the cloned person’s entire life need to be recreated in order to give the genetic inheritance a chance to come to fruition?
When these two books were written, of course all of this was far-distant and purely speculative. Now, given our 21st century advances in genetic engineering and reproductive technologies, the science, at least, is possible, although the nature versus nurture debate remains. I would imagine that both books, while startling for their time, might seem a little less so now, although the central question remains: If we have the science to clone a great man, should we? And if the science exists to clone a monster, what could anyone do to stop it?
I remember being quite fascinated by both of these books when I first encountered them. I’d love to know how they’d strike a new reader today — scary or silly? If you’ve read these books and have any thoughts about them, share a comment!
So, what’s your favorite blast from the past? Leave a tip for your fellow booklovers!
Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join the Flashback Friday fun, write a blog post about a book you love and share your link below. Don’t have a blog post to share? Then share your favorite oldie-but-goodie in the comments section. Jump in!