Sunday, December 23, 2012


Resurrection is a beloved trope in science fiction. How cool (or frightening) would it be, the writers ponder, if that whole resurrection thing, whether from Christian or Buddhist or whatever theology you might care to name, were real? And could be studied by a rational society, not a society filled with mysticism, such as that inhabited by one Jesus of Nazareth?

Stanislaw Lem rowed down that stream, and paddled well.

But still, left me wanting more than he provided at the end.

Lem's "The Investigation" follows a mysterious string of incidents at mortuaries in a small area of Norfolk in England where bodies at first are found in different positions, and then, most mysteriously, disappeared and then rediscovered, much the worse for wear, far away from where their beloved left them reverentially dead.

The police allow the typical "I'm not saying it's aliens, but it's aliens" rumors fly as they try to figure out what's going on. The sci-fi comes in as Lieutenant Gregory, a Scotland Yard investigator, pairs with Sciss, an eccentric statistician, to figure out what the holy hell is going on. Sciss' theory: A mutated virus once responsible for cancer has mutated and instead of taking life from living matter is now trying to reanimate life in dead tissue. Creepy.

But -- SPOILERS lay ahead -- we don't get to know. I know it's a popular thing in science fiction to ask a question, throw out a thesis or two and then provide no answers, but RRRRGH it's infurating. Hints. Give me hints. A direction. A glowing arrow pointing to a door marked FREEDOM. I guess with some sci-fi, I'm more of a Fred Colon than anything else.

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