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Book Review: Afraid

January 30, 2012

Transhumanism is the idea that human life can be made better with the help of technology. Now imagine controlling the human brain by electrical stimulation and making it function more like a computer. Forget years of study and practice, simply download information directly into a person’s brain and, depending on the program, anyone can have any skill set desired. In Jack Kilborn’s Afraid, “transhumanistic neuropathology” is the underlying concept behind the development of his modified soldiers, or “Red-ops”. Government-sponsored terrorists, Red-ops are trained in all aspects of munitions, battle and war and they function as small strike forces with three goals: isolate, overpower and annihilate.

Forget the ethical implications with this type of science and the type of ideal world this could possibly create, we’re not reading Afraid to think, we’re reading Afraid to be entertained and this book is loaded with entertainment. Kilborn provides that entertainment by taking things a couple of steps further. Rather than training regular military personnel as Red-ops, he gives us Hannibal Lector combined with Rambo with transhuman modifications. In other words, unstoppable human monsters. We see a team made up of death row inmates: psychopaths and sadists, and rather than isolate, overpower and annihilate, they torture, rape and murder. And they do it well. Now drop this team of scientifically engineered mutant maniacs into the sleepy town of Safe Haven, Wisconsin, population 907, and the result is— well, the result is something you’re going to have to find out for yourself.

Afraid is billed as horror, but for me this wasn’t horror and I didn’t find the story frightening. However, this was an amazingly tense thriller; a violent (maybe too extreme for some readers) page-turner of the highest order. The action starts quickly and aside from taking breaks to reveal more layers of the plot, doesn’t let up until the end. If you’re the type of reader who doesn’t like to wait, you might want to start Afraid early in the day or early in the weekend because you’re not going to want to put it down once you start. If violent thrillers are your cup of tea you won’t be disappointed with this one.

For more book reviews I’ve written, just click on “Books” in the Category Cloud on the right side of the page.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2012 11:20 am

    Not my cup of tea to be honest, horror is a bit too much for me!


  2. January 30, 2012 11:55 am

    Not my cup of tea in itself, but the idea of transhumanism is a fascinating thing… and one I will no doubt write a story about at some point soon *grin* Excellent review, Michael.


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      January 31, 2012 8:41 am

      I can’t wait to read your story, Gill!


  3. January 30, 2012 6:45 pm

    Sounds intriguing, not my kind of story, but exciting for sure. If I were the author, I’d be very happy with this review. Good job.


  4. January 31, 2012 6:53 pm

    oooo, sounds good. i will have to hunt it down. thanks, michael.


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      February 1, 2012 5:49 am

      Hurry up and then come back and let me know what you thought of it.


  5. February 1, 2012 1:54 pm

    No girl meets boy, one (or both) of them screw it up, and then they work it out and go on to have a house in the suburbs, three perfect children, and a golden retriever here! Nice job on the review!


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      February 1, 2012 2:14 pm

      Thanks Beth. There is a dog in the book but that’s about the only similarity!


  6. February 1, 2012 2:48 pm

    I don’t really read horror or watch it for that matter–but I think the subject of transhumanism is really interesting. You did a great review!! Cheers, Jenn.


  7. Anonymous permalink
    February 3, 2012 10:12 am

    i have been adding suspense to my reading list. I will consider this one. Thanks


  8. February 4, 2012 10:07 pm

    Sounds like a popcorn movie on paper. 🙂 Great review.


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      February 5, 2012 7:36 am

      Thanks, Elizabeth! You’re right, it does read fast like a movie and I love popcorn movies which is probably a reason why I liked the book so much.


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