Biomites are artificial stem cells that can replace any cell in your body. No more kidney failure, no severed spines or blood disease. No cancer. Pharmaceuticals become obsolete. With each dose of biomites, we become stronger, we become smarter and prettier.
We become better. At what point are we no longer human?
Nix Richards nearly died in a car accident when he was young. Biomites saved his life. Ten years later, he's not so lucky. The Halfskin Laws decree a human composed of 50% biomites is no longer human. Halfskins have no legal rights and will have their biomites shutdown. It's not called murder, merely deactivation.
Cali Richards has been Nix's legal guardian since their parents died. She has lost far too many people in her life to let the government take Nix. She is a nanobiometric engineer and will discover how to hide him. But even brilliance can succumb to the pressure of suffering. And technology can't cure insanity.
Cali and Nix keep a slippery grip on reality as they elude a maniacal federal agent dedicated to saving humanity from what he calls "The Biomite Plague"?
©2013 Tony Bertauski (P)2013 Tony Bertauski
The plot of this story is very original. I mean I’ve read other books which deal with genetics but not quite as this book does. Basically the story takes place in a future where science has evolved in such a way they’ve created synthetic cells called biomites. The only problem is they reproduce so fast they take over everything organic so when people reach 50% of biomites they shut them down.
I liked that it raised so many moral questions which really border on a line. It’s not black and white. We could really be discussing this subject for a while so why don’t you read the book and we can discuss it later? But honestly, I love thought provoking books as this one. Plus, the world building is amazing. It feels like a plausible future, so it was easy to get sucked into the tale.
There were some weird stuff though, or maybe unresolved. Like this fantasy world Nix’s created or maybe it was real? The plot is definitely unfinished and I’m really hoping to get all my answers in the next book.
As real as the world was, the characters were very human. So imperfect and driven by emotion. It’s so easy to understand what motivates them. They are so flawed it’s beautiful.
I loved Nix and Cali. They were such an amazing team and have gone through so much. Seriously, can a single person endure so much pain in one life? But nevertheless they kept going, kept fighting, and that is what’s so brilliant about them.
I also liked Marcus Anderson. As a character that is, not as a person. He is the perfect villain, but you can see the human in him. Very creepy guy though, just despicable, which made him an excellent character. The best thing about him is that in his mind he was the actual hero, the only with pants enough to do what’s right.
The story’s point of view was alternately Cali and Nix’s, but some time it added some data collected from the Mother database, which was this machine who controlled everyone. Even if those excerpts did add to the story, it was weird for an audiobook narrative. The way you follow a story when you read is different when you listen, you need to be more attentive. So even if I loved this story, for the way it was written maybe it wasn’t as suitable for an audiobook.
Overall, it was an excellent read. I think I’d read rather than listen the next book, but will be keeping an eye out for it. I only wished the author would redo this cover though. It is horrible, scary and creepy! Drives people away from this great story.
Despite my statement above, I think the narrator did a pretty good job. He got the voices right, man and woman, even Mother (the machine). But I thought he did Avery, Cali’s daughter, sound sooo annoying when in fact she was a very sweet girl, and he spoke too loudly at the microphone sometimes. I get that he had to emphasis sometimes, but please, there are people listening to this with headphones. It wasn’t good to turn up and down the volume all the time.
What is right and what is wrong in a world where all injuries, diseases and illnesses can be "repaired" instantly with biomites? No surgery, no painful recovery and no waiting. Too good to be true??
Every time you utilize biomites to solve a physical problem human tissue is replaced and the biomites that are used continue to multiply within your body. When you have less than 50% human tissue you are "put down".
Politics, religion and science battle against each other as they disagree about the point when the computerization of humanity to cure all ills makes the recipient no longer human.
I wasn't sure I was going to like or finish this when I first started it. It starts off rather strange because it's not the world as we know it. After about 15-20 min of listening to the audio it became interesting because I had a new vocabulary related to the world the characters lived in and understood what was going on.
David Dietz' narration was a positive addition to the book. The only character voice I didn't really like hearing was the little girl. It was, at times, shrill but that was just part of the character. I have listened to Dietz' narrate other books and child voices didn't have that shrill tone.
If you are looking for a dystopia/sci-fi with a little bit different angle you should read Halfskin.
Nix and Cali Richards (brother & sister) have suffered losses. Nix nearly died in a car accident that took his parents. He had to have an infusion of biomites to live as these tiny man-made stem cells could repair him from the inside out. Cali, the eldest sibling, has been his guardian since then, making it her life mission to keep him safe. However, the government has the Halfskin Laws: once a human becomes 50% biomites, he/she is no longer considered human and they are turned off. Luckily, Cali is a nanobiometric engineer.
This was a fascinating tale of what could be a near future. I truly enjoyed all the biomite talk and the societal implications. Plenty of thoughtful questions are brought up in this story. At what point is a human more machine than human? Does that negate their rights, including their right to life? I can see this book taking it’s place among science fiction classics.
Nix is an interesting character, struggling internally with the knowledge of what his future holds. He can’t live without the biomites and there is no real way to remove them. They are self replicating, so the longer one has them, the more the biomites take over the body. Yet he also knows his sister, Cali, will do whatever she can to try to save him. Incarcerated with other red-lining folks (those at 49% or higher biomites), he lives the life of a condemned criminal.
Now Cali is an even more interesting character because she has taken so much on her shoulders. Ever since their parents died, she has been the legal guardian of Nix. She also has a young daughter (the father having passed away). As you can see, she has a lot of stresses in her life, and that has been so for years. With her nanobiometric engineering background, she races against the clock to find a way to save Nix.
Another interesting aspect to this story is that there is a overarching cyber entity called Mother who is tied in to all biomites. The government created her to keep track of, and disable when necessary, the biomites. So Cali not only has to outwit the human law enforcers, but she also has to fool Mother.
All in all a very entertaining tale that I didn’t want to put down. Looking forward to Book 2!
The Narration: David Dietz did a fantastic job with the voices. He had distinct, believable voices for males and females, kids and adults. He was also very good at imbuing emotion into the character voices especially Cali.
I love to read and working on my first book. Maybe it will be on Audible someday.
I don't mind cliff hangers in a book that set up the next book in the series, but this one left me totally hanging having resolved nothing. There was no sense of closure for this book. Lots of questions but no answers1
I might be willing to listen to another book, but if the next one ends as badly as this one did, I doubt there will be a third book of his that I read or listen to.
Yes and no! I was not at all crazy about this book. I would most likely return it but I received it for free from the narrator (who was the one saving grace for this audio book). I don't think it was a fair first book to listen to of David Dietz because the material he had to work with with was not all that good.
My chief complaint about David Dietz's narration is that he use the same voice for multiple characters. The only reason he got away with it was because the characters never spoke to each other so it was not difficult to tell who was doing the talking. Personally, I would rather narrators use no different voices at all and just read what the characters are saying to each other, but that is just a personal preference.
I received this book from the narrator in exchange for an honest review!
Check out more detailed reviews on my blog amiesbookreviews.wordpress. com
Author: Tony Bertauski
Type of Book: Audiobook - Unabridged
Narrator: David W. Dietz
Length: 7 hours, 31 minutes
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: May 20, 2013
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
* I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.
Biomites are artificial stem cells that can replace any cell in your body.
Nix Richards nearly died in a car accident when he was a young child. He was seeded with Biomites and they saved his life.
Imagine being able to cure any disease, even cancer. Imagine having the ability to recover from any injury. What an incredible boon to mankind.
However, there are always those who will oppose any medical advancement as an affront - either against God or against mankind.
The government decides that anyone with 50% Biomites are no longer human. At 40% you are "detained and observed" at 50% they shut you off.
When Nix is detained his sister, Callie, a brilliant biomite researcher is determined to find a way to save him.
Meanwhile a religious fanatic who happens to be a federal agent is equally determined to shut Nix down forever.
This book is brilliantly written and is so realistic that readers cannot help but see this as an inevitable invention. There is the perfect amount of tension and suspense. The author has done an incredible job of detailing the difference of opinion between those who want to use any technology necessary to prolong human life and those that believe that any tampering is going against God's will. It brings to mind the belief of some religious groups that exist today who would rather let their child die than to allow a life-saving blood transfusion.
This book will stay with listeners long after the audiobook ends.
Narrator David Dietz was the perfect choice for this book. His tone of voice and pacing was just right and he draws the listener into the story. He differentiates easily between characters and is able to convey emotions with ease.
I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars and I am looking forward to listening to "Clay" which is the follow-up to this audiobook.
I'm less likely to try another Bertauski book.
If the book explored more the machine vs. human aspect that may have made for a better book. The story was more about action than philosophy, and this one needed a little more of the later.
For me having an audio book means more time is found for reading. I might not have tried this book if it wasn't an audio version. David Dietz gave me a free copy for an honest review, and I do appreciate that. I was disappointed in the story line, not with the narration.
I was disappointed with the story. I like the idea behind the story and some might think we humans are leading towards this, which is nanotechnology inside our body to fix where the biology goes wrong. In the book they call the tech biomites. And sometimes is isn't the biology that goes wrong, it's just someone wants to change something about their body, like maybe eye color. The book explores, perhaps and not very well, where is the line between human and machine. In the book they shut people down, i.e. kill, when they become half-skin, or have 50% biomites. There isn't any consideration on why a particular human was seeded with biomites, but once they do they seem to replicate, much like cancer. This, as a story was interesting.
But there was something about the book, about the writing style that annoyed me. In the beginning it was the repetition of information. As the story went on it didn't seems so obvious, but still there was something about this book that just didn't work. The occasional drop in of someone else’s story maybe. Put there for some unknown purpose but didn't really help overall. The extra dreamland of the main character also seemed to have no real purpose. Perhaps these aspects made the story weaker.
Also, I didn’t think the book ended well. It felt like the story wasn’t over. I get that authors do this to begin a series, get you hooked to keep reading. But I just read another book by a classic SF author, and it was also the first in a series as well and it didn't leave you hanging. It didn't resolve everything, of course, but there wasn't this huge obvious ploy to get to the next book. To me it's a sign of weak writing. The author can't trust the reader will stick around for the next book unless there's a big cliffhanger or nearly everything is unresolved.
When the character showed anger the volume on the recording got way too loud. And there were several spots where you could hear the puff into the microphone, which pulls you out of the story a little.
Also, it's nice to have a chapter break at the end of the part. Sometimes the part ended in the middle of a chapter.
I received an audiobook credit to review this book and wow what a treasure this was. Tony Bertauski has created a new fan in me. The story pulled me in, to my surprise. As someone who proclaims “I’m not a fan of Sci-fi,” I enjoyed this book. The premise of biomites intrigued me. Artificial cells that heal the human body, cells that boost intelligence and correct defects. How far will the human condition go to find their definition of perfection? I truly enjoyed it and Tony took the story in directions I didn’t expect.
The struggle between science and faith added another layer that kept me involved in Bertauski’s world.
The narration & production of this audiobook was nice but there were some issue with the editing. As footage was mixed there were noticeable jumps in volume. I’d give the production 3 stars because even though it was okay, the gaps were noticeable enough to distract from the story.
The climax or twist is a little tough, although it feels real, just heart breaking!
For Science Fiction readers who like a story that might be real, this is the story for you!
This book surprised me in a good way! I was not sure from the title if it was going to be my kind of sci-fi (I tend to like the fantasy end of the genre). This story of human nature, scientific advancements, and the line between human and machine is timely. The news is full of stories about human genomes and robot guided surgery. While a fiction piece, the author has shown enough restraint that the descriptions in the book are quite imaginable. The character's motivations are each flawed and uniquely human and there are a couple of good plot twists I did not see coming. The book's pace is about right and keeps you wondering what will happen next. Overall, a good experience.
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