Muse on the Dangers of Technology in Jessica Chiarella’s “And Again”
Jessica Chiarella’s adult science-fiction novel And Again tells the story of four terminally ill patients who are given the chance to start a new life in genetically perfected versions of their bodies.
However, each of the protagonists struggle with their identities when they receive the transplant: Hannah, an artist, has to re-learn how to hold a brush; David, who was a Congressman, struggles to not return to his vices; Connie, who worked as an actress, has to navigate an industry that is obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda has to learn how to re-connect with her family.
Chiarella forces you to muse on when it is appropriate to draw the line with scientific advances. Is it morally okay to clone humans if you are going to use the technology to save the lives of terminally ill patients?
All these questions and more will be resounding in the back of readers’ heads as they follow the four main characters on their fresh start in life and their desperate attempt to regain a bit of normalcy.
The author also uses the character’s journeys to explore the nature of identity as they realize some aspects of their former lives cannot be transferred and forces the readers to ponder if our physical bodies dictate who we are.
Chiarella’s novel And Again is a heartbreaking exploration of what it means to be human as well as the moral dangers of scientific advancement.