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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
It is a scary thought to be the last man in the world, especially when you think that man is a social animal. The Living Reminder by Thomas Zman is a highly cautionary tale with this premise. The last man on Earth in question is a man with the biblical name of Elijah, who started having prophetic dreams back when he was a young boy. The dreams are about a mysterious entity: Stardom is his name, an emissary to the cosmos, who uses words that conjure pictures that always left Elijah in a state of wonderment—for Stardom’s words evoke destruction upon humanity. A modern-day equivalent of the Ten Plagues of Egypt has ravaged the land, leaving Elijah as the last man on Earth. As he wanders around his desolate town, he encounters Kyliptra and Abslam, alien twins who become his friends. This friendship will allow Elijah to have time for closure and to gather himself for a momentous transition.
The Living Reminder is an autophobic science fiction drama relating to a sole existence as a memento of a once inhabited planet. Zman’s prose is elaborate, yet every word counts. His approach to conflict and drama is heightened by the anxiety that develops within Elijah as he grows up. There are xenophobic undertones at the initial phase of his encounters with the twins, but as the only remaining representative of the human race, he displays a rectitude expected from being a Living Reminder. It can well be interpreted as an allegory for life, with a discourse worthy of a group discussion. It is a formidable tale with a sense of spirituality and compassion. The story is that good, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.