Book Review: The Atlantis Gene and The Atlantis Plague by A.G. Riddle
In January of 2000, Scientific American published an article titled, "Once We Were Not Alone." The headline read, "Today we take for granted that Homo sapiens is the only hominid on Earth. Yet for at least four million years many hominid species shared the planet. What makes us different?"
It seems that archeologists have determined that about 100,000 - 70,000 years ago there were several varieties of sentient hominoids living on Earth, making tools, and creating small tribes. Then, over the next 20,000 years, all of them died off except us: Homo sapiens. And not only did the rest perish, but we, the victors, went on to advance so rapidly that in basically the blink of an evolutionary eye we had created the beginnings of civilization.
Scientists don't agree on what caused the other versions of humanity to die out. How did Homo sapiens make such advances in such a short amount of time? It's as if we simply woke up aware and ready to make war on everyone else and ready to dominate the world. There are many theories about what is often called, "The Great Leap Forward," but none can explain exactly how our genetics changed over night. Could it be that something other than natural selection took place? Could humanity have been "gifted" this sudden awareness? And if so, could the giver of such power have been from an even more powerful race than our own?
A.G. Riddle's The Origin Mystery series tackles these questions quite cleverly. Set in the present, the first two books, The Atlantis Gene and The Atlantis Plague, take the "Great Leap Forward as an extraterrestrial gift" concept and run with it, literally, through an amazing story of plot twists and turns. David Vale, a former CIA agent turned private mercenary finds himself in the position of protecting scientist Dr. Kate Warner from her own family and employers, while the world suffers from a plague worse than the Spanish Flu and the Black Death combined. These books are intense page turners filled with action. I often found myself virtually winded, wondering when things would slow down and the poor couple might have a moment of peace!
The science in these novels revolves around DNA and genetic manipulation as well as brain wiring and consciousness. Riddle has done a very good job of being as accurate as possible, while adding in his own imagination to fill in the holes in his own unique way. Often the scientists in the novels are working with the part of our DNA that our own genetic researchers have labelled "junk," the 97% of our DNA that doesn't seem to fit any known genetic code. Is it possible that the "junk" DNA holds the keys to the mystery of why some genes display, or get turned on, and others stay unactivated, lying dormant for a lifetime? Riddle uses these questions to create a very plausible, yet sometimes complicated, story about genetics and the role it plays in human evolution.
That another race, the Atlanteans in this case, could manipulate our gene pool to create a species that meets their ideals is indeed eerie and yet completely believable. We've been manipulating the genes of plants and animals for decades and the human genome is about to become a more common part of our conversation as designer babies and nano-tech solutions to cancer and other illnesses move to the forefront of our medical technology. Implanting circuits inside humans to download vaccines and genetic cures as they're created isn't too far off.
One of the other things I loved about The Atlantis Gene and The Atlantis Plague were the Author's Notes at the end, which are basically thank you letters to the readers for reading and reviewing his work. A.G. Riddle has self published The Origin Mystery series on Amazon and it's the reviewers in the eBook world who've brought his work to light. His gratitude towards his readers is wonderful, honest and refreshing. He's right, the best way to support the authors you enjoy is to write reviews on Amazon and other outlets, so that they can improve their craft and be connected to their audience.
If you love the sort of story that's high tech, fast paced and includes advanced alien technology with a ton of history thrown in, you'll love both The Atlantis Gene and The Atlantis Plague. I know I did. Now to catch up on all that sleep I missed while reading them before he releases The Atlantis World, his last book in the trilogy.
Visit www.agriddle.com for more information on the novels and the author.
NOTE: I've begun to add reviews on this blog of movies and books related to science, computing, artificial intelligence, singularity, transhumanism, big data, internet privacy and human consciousness. I'm especially interested in helping to get the word out for indie films and books. If you have a book (nonfiction is fine as well) or movie/documentary you'd like me to review in my blog, let me know! I want to know about it! Contact me on Twitter @NSallakAnderson or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!