Review: Who by Karen A. Wyle

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Review: Who by Karen A. Wyle

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By Karen A. Wyle

Who takes place in the near future. Those who can afford it have the opportunity to have their memories and personalities digitally stored. The stored person can continue to interact with live people, and they can also meet other stored people and can pursue new interests if they like. Clubs can be formed. Theatrical interests, for example, and academic interests are possible.

In Who, Thea dies suddenly. Even though she is young, she has had the foresight to arrange for herself to be stored. Her husband, Max, notices some differences about Thea's stored physical characteristics and personality. Before long her political beliefs change, and she is not even aware of the change.

The story raises interesting questions, such as does the digitally stored person have legal rights? How about the right to vote? What about if the recorded people have their data altered so that they vote in ways they may not have before? What can the stored people do, since their thoughts and actions are monitored?

Other questions could be what about the person who is stored and requests to lose a few pounds, or to look younger? Where is the line as far as changing the stored person?

Who is a speculative science fiction story with strong legal discussion. The characters are interesting and likeable. I was struck by Thea's mother who is suddenly confronted with the idea that Thea will never be a mother. Thea is analytical and intelligent, and Max is more creative.

I have read Ms. Wyle's Twin-Bred series, which is a fascinating exploration of how humans and aliens can learn to understand one another. When I was offered a chance to read Who, I was delighted, since I have found Ms. Wyle's books to be well-written and thought-provoking. Who is another creative story that I had a hard time putting down. Considerable attention is given to the investigation and examination of the legal aspects of digital storage, but the pace of the book remained smooth.

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