Adam Exx Exodus…a book review by Alan Gold

May 20, 2015 by Alan Gold
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There is a class of books being published these days which are best described as ‘metabooks’.

front-coverThey go beyond the book, and have the capacity to be, and do, so much more. Just like a Shakespearean play which is interesting on the page but becomes electrifying on stage, so some books lend themselves to a life beyond paper.

With the insatiable appetite of the Internet and cable television for content, books have become so much more than books. Today, they are the meat and potatoes of scriptwriters and moviemakers who work for such organizations as HBO, Netflix, and Paramount Studios.

And few books are more able to translate from page to screen than Fraser McEwing’s trilogy dealing with the First Man, Adam Exx.

The first book in the series, Genesis, was a tour de force of its genre, in which Everyman, Adam Exx, a genial solicitor, finds that he is not living in a normal world, but in a gigantic experiment, run by hidden and external agencies and intelligences.

Book Two, Exodus, takes the story further into the nature of those who created this simulacrum, The Study Corporation, an unworldly group of arch manipulators which has created Adam as an experiment.

And here is the brilliant conundrum of McEwing’s book, because though Adam knows that everything around him…the people, the places, the events…are created and unreal, the only way in which Adam can lead a fulfilling life is to come to terms with his environment, and deal with it as though it were real, even though he knows that he’s lying to himself.

Fraser Beath McEwing

Fraser Beath McEwing

This is the stuff of daydreams and nightmares. It is the inner vision which haunts so many of us who get up, go to work, return to our families and repeat the same thing, day after day. It was the perspective defined by the philosopher, Rene Descartes, who decided that the only way we could ever know we were real, and not the imaginative creations of some otherworldly being, was to understand that because we think, therefore we are.

In Exodus, Ewing’s eponymous character, Adam, has problems in his law firm which culminate in his being forced to work for the organization which has created him, The Study Corporation. His career is teetering on the edge of ruin, but he is given the chance of redemption by Nigel Chandler, the man who runs the Study Corporation. Chandler commissions him to work on the construction of human memory.

This is the world of Orwell and 1984, of Huxley and Brave New World. Adam enters a huge building known as The Cone, where his world, and those of other “Adamites” are created.

Alan Gold

Alan Gold

But the world of The Cone, however dystopian, is real and here Adam meets up with the beautiful Indian girl Rimini who he last met and lost in Book One, Genesis. And it is here that the book reaches its illuminating, yet devastating conclusion: should he continue to live in the fantasy of his own mind in The Cone with Rimini and all the other people he loves, or should he return to a life in the real world where he is alone and, like Keats’s Belle Dame Sans Merci, alone and palely loitering.

But that’s a decision which forms the final part of the trilogy, Leviticus, which will be published in coming months.

Fraser McEwing has written an insightful, compelling book, which presents his readers with so much more than a story world. This is philosophy writ large, dealing with the very nature of who we are, why we’re here, and what is the purpose of life.

With Game of Thrones being a major international success derived from a series of books, I can’t help but think that Hollywood should be looking at the Adam Exx trilogy as the next breakthrough in the genre of page to screen…

 

Alan Gold is a novelist, whose latest book, Bell of the Desert is published in America.

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