In an amused tone, Kaplan offers gentle science fiction that is sympathetic to the human condition. The first chapter, “Escapade,” features Gomer and Muriel Ackerman, a retro couple in the mid-21st Century who are searching for old-fashioned values such as privacy in a twentieth-century settlement but do not get what they bargained for. In “A Dementia Returnee,” their friend Virginia becomes one of the first people cured of dementia but who runs into an unexpected detour to complete health. Later in the book, Gomer’s wife dies and he seeks consolation from a custom-designed robot that satisfies in some ways and does not in others. In the last chapter, Muriel’s grandniece Beatriz discovers extraterrestrials in another solar system who must be stingy with words in order to survive. If you too are a curiosity seeker, you will find yourself with kindred spirits within this collection of interrelated stories.
Here’s the part I like…. I designed the text on the back cover. Notice my name on the bottom after the cover artist? Oh, you can get the book from Amazon by clicking here. And you can read all about the cover artist, Krista Dedrick Lai. Now, I should go read the book!
About Karen Kaplan…
Karen B. Kaplan has an unusual background for a science fiction writer: she a hospice chaplain and instructor of English as a Second Language. She has always wanted to write sci-fi with a compassionate touch, rather than portray the wars writ large and nasty robots found in dystopian scenarios. In her most recent book, Curiosity Seekers, Kaplan cooks up a blend of irony and an exploration of spiritual values such as privacy and the need to be heard. She enjoys surprising and entertaining readers by finding humor in the most unexpected places. In one of these interrelated stories, a grieving man tries to circumvent his grief by ordering up a robot that looks and acts like his wife. But complications ensue when her sexuality as well as other traits differ from the “original” mate.
While serving hospices in New Jersey and New York for seven years, Kaplan visited over 4,000 patients and their families from all walks of life. That is when she wrote her first book, Encountering The Edge: What People Told Me Before They Died. Even in the context of hospice Kaplan is always alert to quirky anecdotes. “I always have an eye out for it,” she says. “I remember a funeral where the deceased’s niece looked at the grave and said, ‘Auntie, you sure have been fussy about apartments. But you’d better be satisfied with this one, because it’s gonna be your very last.’” When she was ordained in 1992, she became one of the first 200 female rabbis worldwide and earned board certification as a healthcare chaplain in 2007.
To follow Kaplan’s most recent writing see her blog, Offbeatcompassion or follow her @chaplainkkaplan. She would love your suggestions for her next science fiction adventure.