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Beyond Knowledge by Ayami Tyndall


Beyond Knowledge is a provocative tale of growth and self-discovery which investigates the need for fathers in our families and the place of religion in a world of science. Set in a world akin to our own, but with a history gone askew, this story lays bare issues of race, sex and class as it digs into the very fabric of human relations to find what it is that lets us achieve happiness.

America has burned. Russia has fallen. Science reigns as religion dies. In a land once called China, Americans and Japanese fleeing from nuclear wastelands have built a society of strict gender roles and educational classes. In this land of loveless lust children are born from unknown fathers, but one boy doesn’t wish to become just another head of cattle.Gifted with the ability to read the hearts of others, Tye Kawanaka endures the torments of his childhood only to have the one man who understood him torn away in a needless accident.

Striking out against his world and the Oracles who manage it, Tye is in turn struck down by the Wakatters, masters and architects of his world. Remade as their tool, Tye must fight back all the darkness and despair of his soul so he can defy the Wakatters once more and seek out that which they fear and wish to destroy, but which might be Tye’s one hope for completion.

Ancient powers await him in the far corners of Asia as he seeks out what lies Beyond Knowledge.

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Editorial Reviews

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Editor’s First Impression

By Linda Schoales, editor

Oct 17, 2010: The first chapter is a history lesson. Literally. A history teacher summarizes the year’s course outline for his students. The course is 20th century History, and this is an alternate timeline. It’s an interesting way to present the backstory, and the author has some interesting ideas.

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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History, but not really a Story

By G.S. Williams, author of No Man An Island

Oct 19, 2010: "Beyond Knowledge" features one of the mainstays of what Robert Heinlein liked to call "speculative" fiction as opposed to "science" fiction. The author takes an idea and projects it to future conclusions, creating a vision of a society built around the concept.

In Heinlein’s case, he would look at a specific thing, like longevity treatments making people live longer, and then how that would impact society. The beauty of his writing is that he would show you the story, throwing you into the midst of the established society and letting you learn about it as the characters deal with their lives and conflicts.

Not familiar with Heinlein? Okay, Star Wars illustrates the same thing—Episode 4 a New Hope the original version throws you into a galaxy at war—beyond the opening credits there’s no exposition or origin stories, you learn about what’s going on from the dialogue and adventure.

"Beyond Knowledge" doesn’t draw on the history of speculative fiction as an example of how to write it well, unfortunately. Exposition is everywhere—we are constantly told what people can do and how they feel and how they understand things—and how society got to where it is after a nuclear war. However, we are not SHOWN any of these things by actual actions.

We are told that Tye is a special insightful boy, but we aren’t given descriptions of actions that prove what we’re told. For example, you could be told "children were excited" but we’re not shown a scene of children talking fast, laughing at each other, eyes shining with anticipation as they looked around the room . . .  There’s little to connect me as a reader with events because the writing is at such an emotional remove from what’s happening. I don’t see any reason to share Tye’s worries about not knowing his father, because we don’t see how it affects his life, we’re just told it makes him sad.

I think I’d rather go read "Friday" by Heinlein. That story takes the idea of children being raised differently—and instead of just sperm donor fathers, as in this story, but with traditional mother/child relationships—in Friday children are born in creches and raised without parents, and it leaves the protagonist feeling cut off from human society.

Or go read Huxley’s "Brave New World" to see how governments could raise children without parents and the way it affects them. The world is full of great ideas, and this story has some good ones—the difference is in the execution.

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