“Unfettered Journey” by Gary F. Bengier

This is a story about one man’s journey to discover whether he has free will. Also to find a meaning for his life, which pretty much amounts to the same thing. The author is a philosopher, the main character is a university prof and he searches at a university, so strap yourself in for an intense bout of ideas.

This book is near-future Sci-Fi, heavy to the philosophy. It has a good anti-dystopian rebellion plotline, a really sweet love story, and a few spates of great action. However, here is a taste of what you are likely to encounter:

The scientific world-building is great, with ideas like, “brain immersives and brain-machine interface technology,” sprinkled throughout.

The philosophical schools and precepts are myriad, from David Hume’s ideas about causality, through Schrödinger’s cat and just about every famous philosopher of the past two centuries, and at the bottom (or top?) the nature of God. Oh yes, and string theory as well.

And then the whole scene changes, whisking us to a survival ordeal in the wilderness. I have to say that this part of the story is much more appealing, although the main character uses his time away from the cares of the modern world to ponder deep philosophical subjects in peace.

A note about editing your genre to the level of knowledge of your public. Readers who understand and appreciate a phrase like “the fulgent light of day” know that “shined” is what you did to your shoes, and “shone” is what the sun did. To people this educated, “all right” is two words.

Highly recommended for those cramming for the Philosophy 101 final exam. Other than that, I’m not sure how many readers would be interested enough in the story to wade through the philosophy. I certainly enjoyed the interplay of ideas — they reminded me fondly of discussions of Existentialism in grad school — but there were places where I couldn’t follow the logic, and (here’s the key part) wasn’t motivated to spend the time to try.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

About the Author: Gordon Long

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