Book Review: Reset by Sarina Dahlan

Reset by Sarina Dahlan

Can you love someone you don't remember?

This book came to me courtesy NetGalley and is one of the most thought-provoking stories I’ve read in years. For the first time in forever, I was forced to slow down my usual break-neck pace through the pages. There were sentences that were so impactful, so profound, I had to savor them. Think about their implications. Consider the ramifications. It took me three days of profound enjoyment to reach the end.

The book was amazing.

And its ending left me in a glow that hasn’t left me in the past week.

In general, I love authors who play with human perception of time and connection with others. This book combined that with lyricism and philosophical passages that had old Beatles tunes haunting my brain and made me ponder how different individuals might conceive of and implement a utopia. And what they would force the populations of these idyllic locations to give up.

As someone who treasures my dreaming capacity, a passage like this one gave me shivers of horror:

By some reason that Metis doubts was Bodie’s will, he underwent the Dreamcatcher treatment. All Dreamers know the consequence of dream erasure. Once erased, the memories attached to those dreams are gone. They will no longer resurface.

from “Reset” by Sarina Dahlan

And the creeping gap of missing memories–even when driven by so noble a goal as peace in a post-apocalyptic world–makes the humans operating within them not much more than empty puppets:

“I don’t deny that Tabula Rasa was created out of a desire for peace. But anything that takes away choice eats away at our soul. Without our memories, we are but empty vessels waiting to be filled and drained at each cycle. Love, the most vital of human needs, cannot exist fully outside the garden of memories.”

from “Reset” by Sarina Dahlan

The story was an elegant and unique love story on many levels, crossed with a philosophical treatise on what it takes to live harmoniously, combined with a classic sci-fi exploration of the ethics of using advanced technology. The world-building allowed for a full exploration of each of these components within a richly imagined environment–down to the vaguely salty after-taste of water reclaimed through desalination for use in a manufactured desert oasis.

I’ve already started passing out the title and Amazon links to my friends and colleagues, because this book deserves discussion and sharing, whether or not your normal tastes run to sci-fi or even romance. I’d never heard of this author prior to reading this book, and from her Goodreads profile, it appears this might be her first novel, but based on the excellence of its execution, her next book will be an automatic purchase for me.

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