-A New Masterpiece by Michael Bunker-
Fantastic, unique and full of character, these are just some of Brother Frankenstein’s defining traits. Written primarily from the perspective of Dr. Keith Alexander, a physician and researcher, the novel revolves around Dr. Alexander’s relationship with one of his test subjects, an autistic Amish boy named Frank Miller. The two develop a fraternal (albeit lopsided) relationship, that for Alexander appears to be colored by a deep seated desire for redemption. Both are drawn into a harrowing and surreal set of circumstances however, as Frank’s health sharply declines. In an act of irrational desperation, Alexander decides to transplant Frank’s mind into a machine in the hope of saving his life. However, that machine is part of a military research project, and Alexander’s decision to play God will be their downfall, as they forced to live life on the run.
The book covers many well worn sci-fi themes: Life as a cyborg, a group on the run from a secretive and militant government organization, and protagonists that must wrangle their inner demons as they attempt construct a new life. However, the decision to make an autistic Amish boy one of the novels central characters is so unique, that it redefines what the reader comes to experience from this type of story. This isn’t a story about revenge, or unleashing untapped cybernetic potential as much as it is about Alexander’s personal growth and Frank’s ability to cast aside his mental limitations. It is their very flawed and human relationship which makes the story seem all the more real, and ultimately it’s what makes you feel for them when they stumble into tragedy. That being said, this book does contain its fair share of white knuckle action sequences, even if they mostly find their way into the latter half of the book.
At its core Brother Frankenstein has everything you would come to expect from many modern sci fi thrillers – its filled with military cyborgs that run amok, and action scenes were tanks and troops are cut down by lasers. But what truly sets it apart is what you don’t come to expect from this kind of novel; truly human relationships that form between deeply imperfect people and a story line that takes them to places to were most science fiction novels wouldn’t dare to go.