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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
In The Becomer by David Michael Miller, we meet X, of indeterminate sex. X is you, X is me, in fact, X is, or can be, everyone. In this science fiction fantasy world, Miller examines where today’s technology could be leading us. Forget gene manipulation; in The Becomer, X is able to absorb not just your genes, but your memories, your thoughts and your dreams. X can become you, just by giving you a hug. It’s more than that, though, as once X has absorbed the essence that is you, it stays with him/her/it forever. When he hugs the next person, that person’s essence transfers also to him until, ultimately, X will become everyone. The possibilities created by this new technology seem endless and, eventually, the individual will cease to exist.
This is a short story, but in just these few pages of The Becomer, Miller questions everything we’ve ever known about individuality and consciousness. We meet X as an infant and follow his life through until he becomes the multiplicity of personalities that he will end up having. The author cleverly changes his style through the narrative as we progress through X’s life from infant, to boy, to teenager and finally to man/woman or it. The language and sentence structure early on is simple, almost childlike and grows in complexity as X himself grows in complexity. A fascinating technique employed by the author. Miller effectively challenges everything we may think we know about identity, self-awareness, interconnection, and isolation. This is a stunning short story/novella that makes the reader really sit up, take notice, and ask questions about the perception of reality and life. Brilliant, if a little short.