Stronger, Faster and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton: Part Six and Final Thoughts

Is it read-worth? I’m going to be completely honest. This was my least favorite short story in the collection. However, that being said, I really liked the entire collection… so it’s hard to say it wasn’t worth the read. Curiosities just didn’t really have the same impact on me as the prior stories did, possibly because the scenario it described seemed so far-off and somewhat underdeveloped compared to the previous shorts. The entire collection is worth a read, but you wouldn’t pick up Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful for this specific short story.

Like I said in my brief review, this portion of the book didn’t have the same impact on me as previous sections did. Perhaps that’s partially my fault though. After reading so many amazing short stories, I had high expectations for the last part of the series. What I actually received felt like a let down and didn’t touch on a lot of the topics that interested me so much in the beginning.

Plus, I really wanted to find out what happened to Jake and Kostya. And I didn’t.

But that’s not to say Curiosities was without merit. It was still a very interesting short story and I did enjoy the relationship between the two main characters, Starlock and Luck. They were essential star-crossed lovers doomed to never be together.

Of course, that does mean they end up together, but I was alright with that. I don’t mind predictable endings every now and again. 

I also thought this review touched on a lot of the topics mentioned previously. It didn’t involve the theme of parenting and raising your child that was so prevalent in previous sections, but it had little reminders towards that theme. It mainly focused on how far society was willing to go to alter themselves. In America, they were willing to entrap and essentially enslave a group of people in order to harvest their genetic codes. While the officials in charge undoubtedly justified this behavior by being a “last resort” for mankind and by treating the Protos pretty well, the Protos were designed to live as second-class citizens, or pets, in a highly protected zoo. Just so humans could have red hair or dark skin. It feels strange to think that they judged Russia for their mechanical convicts just to enslave a group of people themselves.

It also feels realistic. 

Governments do horrible things every day.

I didn’t really enjoy the ending, however. You’d think there would be more safe guards for the procedures they perform in place. How had no one planned for a crop disease if they’re adding the genetic information of a crop to humans? Even in theory, someone

 would have written a plan for this. They had so many scientific resources available to them. I also didn’t feel like it was necessary to kill off everyone who had undergone extensive procedures. With the extent of the changes being made to people, it was obvious that mankind had been irreversibly changed and, in my opinion, damaged. Many were completely unrecognizable as human. If you take the extent of their changes further into the inhumane, I think that would have been more realistic than wide-spread immediate death or, vice versa, if you killed the entire population off in a less immediate manner. We didn’t need a return to normal humanity in my opinion, but, if the author felt it was necessary, it could have been done in a better way.

That’s nitpicking though. It was still a good short story, just not a great one.

Overall, I really did enjoy this series a lot. The last story may not have interested me a lot, but it was well written overall and did briefly touch upon the topics I had enjoyed in previous sections. I really enjoyed asking myself questions I had never asked before like: What would I do for my children? What is my right? Are extensive physical alterations moral? When can they be immoral? What would the world look like if we started to drastically, physically change ourselves? I still don’t know the answers to most of those questions, but I do know that everything would be very different.

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