Author Mark Wakely
Publisher Mundania Press
Teaser/Reader Annotation An Audience for Einstein is an intriguing novel exploring the all-consuming quest for immortality and how deeply someone's morals can be twisted.
Plot Summary Professor Percival Marlowe is a Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist, considered to be one of the most brilliant scientists of the century. But, as he nears the completion of his greatest research project, it becomes apparent that there is not enough time left before his body fails him. Dr. Carl Dorning believes his own experiment with memory transfer can provide the solution if he had the funding from Marlowe and the right subject with which to work. When Carl stumbles across the homeless, young Miguel whose mother is in rehab and father vanished he believes he may have found the answer. Though the Professor does not believe Dorning can pull it off, he agrees to fund the experiment, thinking that Miguel will have flashes of his memories and access to his intelligence. What Dorning does not tell them, is that only one set of memories can exist within a brain at a time. When the neurosurgeon manages to transfer Marlowe's memories and spirit into Miguel, however, it becomes a fight of ownership to dominate the body.
Critical Evaluation This novel is well-designed, fast paced, and does a great job keeping readers interested but not overwhelmed by the movement throughout the story line. Even more, the plot is layered with twists and riddles that will keep the readers guessing all the way through the end. Wakely does a good job using the characters and situations to study the human condition. As they work their way through the story, readers must face their own self-examinations and internal doubts, staring down the darker parts of human nature. It is also provides a great fictional exploration of the moral dilemmas of science and knowledge. Granted, it is not at the Frankenstein level, but it is a decent attempt to tackle this issue and analyze possibilities. One of An Audience for Einstein's strong points is the well-developed and dynamic characters. It is easy to get attached to the professor and the young boy, dragging readers' emotions along with theirs. While this may be a book geared more towards boys with its predominate male characters, it is one that both genders should give a chance.
About the Author Mark Wakely (October 22, year unknown) currently lives in Lombard, Illinois with his wife and three children. Though he has a Bachelor of Arts in English and is working as a college administrator at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois, Wakely has had a long-time interest in science. The field has held a fascination for him since he was in high school and was a great inspiration for An Audience for Einstein.
Wakely has only written the one novel thus far, but it has been met with great success. It was already winning awards before it had officially been released, including the 2003 Authorlink International New Author award. In 2006, An Audience for Einstein won the prestigious Eppie Award.
Primary Genre Science-fiction
Curriculum Ties Biology, Ethics
1) Discuss some of the moral and ethical problems associated with Dorning withholding such critical information.
2) How likely do you think it is that we will one day have the technology to perform a memory transfer procedure?
Reading Level/Interest Age 15+
Challenge Issues None.
Why is it included? When I was searching for a young adult book related to science this book came up. I took a chance on it and was pleasantly surprised.