Monday, August 22, 2016

The Many Selves of Katherine North by Emma Geen

When we first meet Kit, she's a fox.

Nineteen-year-old Kit works for the research department of Shen Corporation as a phenomenaut. She's been “jumping”--projecting her consciousness, through a neurological interface--into the bodies of lab-grown animals made for the purpose of research for seven years, which is longer than anyone else at ShenCorp, and longer than any of the scientists thought possible. She experiences a multitude of other lives--fighting and fleeing as predator and prey, as mammal, bird, and reptile--in the hope that her work will help humans better understand the other species living alongside them.

Her closest friend is Buckley, her Neuro--the computer engineer who guides a phenomenaut through consciousness projection. His is the voice, therefore, that's always in Kit's head and is the thread of continuity that connects her to the human world when she's an animal. But when ShenCorp's mission takes a more commercial--and ominous--turn, Kit is no longer sure of her safety. Propelling the reader into the bodies of the other creatures that share our world, The Many Selves of Katherine North takes place in the near future but shows us a dazzling world far, far from the realm of our experience
Anyone who claims to know me is certain about one thing: Yana= Foxes... I am going crazy over them, so when I was offered the opportunity read this novel I was elbowing may way to get it. And I am so very glad I did. If you have read The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, there is no way you wouldn't love this one...
The desire to unite with animals and see life through there eyes is both the fundamental lure of the novel, and of the undoing of its purity within the story. It is a debut novel, and it is so original... not only concept wise but also voice wise... if I ever read a book by Emma Green , without her name being stated per say I would definitely recognise her, no doubt. She did such a good job in portraying what it feels like to be inside the animal, it was absolutely fascinating to experience scents an sensations through sense so much more attuned to nature that our urban human ones.
The Many Selves of Katherine North is such a rare gift because it is the first fantasy/science fiction novel that I've picked up in a while that discusses the morality and paradigm shifting world view of shamanistic practices. And puts you on the spot, right in the centre of the whole issue. And by doing so it asks so many important questions like: What is consciousness? How does our physical body change how we perceive the world? What is reality anyway? And I love nothing more than a book that makes you sit back and reflect on what you have just read.
I REALLY enjoyed this novel. It continued to surprise me in its applications of phenomenautics and the effects of projecting. Honestly, it didn't even need to take the story beyond animal projections. I was enthralled by Katherine's experiences in various bodies and would happily read a novel that explored that alone. Adding in some political and social concern? Even better! It wasn't a perfect novel, but it was a stunning first attempt! I am looking forward to reading more from Emma Green.