Not for the faint of heart, this novel resonates with metaphors and what ifs. Prehistory imagined informs us of human kind's first strides out of the darkness of the eternal present with a dog at his--or her--side. Yet, time and time again the narrative returns to the present of the novel, a time without new stories, without new hope, without dogs. From the distant past to the nearly unimaginable future, the eerie plausibility of anthropological theory and science fiction filters the strangeness of reality.
The novel leaps unhindered by time to a future so distant that the most effort that man has to undertake is moving his own mass while the replicating device, the "E/M C," takes recycling to the extreme and feeds him back his waste in any form he wishes, including the monkey foetus in lemon sauce. For those scandalized by the death of such an animal for a gormet dish, this is merely replicated into non-life from a molecular recipe. Like anything produced by these machines, "it lacked not only the second breath, but also the first."
This apocalyptic vision echoes Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, the series StarTrek, and other gems of science fiction while the truest poetry lies, as is only fitting, in the descriptions of the past, when life and death spiral through time toward this alarming but not yet inevitable future.