In Peter Robertson’s Conclusion, healthy individuals can be scanned and “welded” to enjoy a guaranteed, healthy twenty more years of life. The catch is that they will die, or conclude, at the end of those two decades.
Colin and his wife, Ruby, are reaching the end of their twenty years. Colin is devastated when his wife concludes a year and a half before he’s scheduled to. Struggling to find meaning in the time he has left, Colin is shocked by two unexpected events: the arrival of Angie, a woman with Parkinson’s who was welded even though she has Parkinson’s, and the appearance of a man who was thought to have died years before, Justin.
Justin is in his twenties. He has never been able to achieve much. When he loses one of his jobs, he decides to leave society behind and make a life in the wilderness. His path intersects with Colin’s when both men are at their most desperate.
A gripping psychological thriller with intriguing science fiction elements, the book delves into the what-ifs of extended healthy life, incorporating a number of moral questions regarding who deserves such life and who doesn’t. Its information is realistically presented, and characters come to their realizations in their own time.
Though Colin and Justin could not seem more different, it becomes apparent that they are different sides of the same coin. Their intersecting stories bring clarity to the more and more dire situation, as well as to each other. Justin’s search for security and Colin’s search for meaning dovetail in the satisfying ending.
Sometimes moody and atmospheric, at other times pulse-pounding, Conclusion is a slim title that packs an emotional punch.
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