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An Audience For Einstein

Professor Percival Marlowe is a brilliant, elderly astrophysicist who's dying, his greatest achievement still unfinished and now beyond his diminished means.

Doctor Carl Dorning, a neurosurgeon, finally discovers a secret method of transplanting memories from one person to another, thanks to Marlowe's millions.

Miguel Sanchez, a homeless boy, agrees to become the recipient of Marlowe's knowledge and personality in this unorthodox experiment, enticed by Dorning's promises of intelligence, wealth and respect, but dangerously unaware that his own identity will be lost forever.

What results is a seesaw battle for control of Miguel's body, as Marlowe learns to his dismay what his lifetime of arrogance and conceit has earned him.

And when Marlowe stumbles upon the shocking procedure Dorning used in desperation to succeed, the professor does what he must to defeat Dorning and redeem himself at last.

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Mark Wakely

Almost from birth, Mark has had a life long fascination with all things science.

Throughout grade school, it was the usual model rockets, telescopes and microscopes that occupied his spare time, along with avidly following the space program.

In high school, he started a science club that earned him the Baush and Lomb Science Award in his senior year, which he followed up by acing the science section of the ACT college entrance exam. Fortunately, despite those achievements, Mark managed to avoid the dreaded "nerd" designation, and swears he never even owned a pocket protector.

By the middle of his freshman year in college, however, he felt something in his life was lacking, that something being artistic expression. That ended his budding science career, but launched a new English major.

It was probably inevitable that Mark found himself drawn to writing science fiction, and after cutting his literary teeth by writing poetry (which he still writes) and several "so so" SF stories, Mark wrote two novels prior to An Audience for Einstein, which he considers far and away his best work ever.

Mark is currently a college administrator at prestigious Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois, and resides in a town nearby with his wife and three children. He is already hard at work on his next novel.

Reviews

This is a slick little science fiction story with good old hard science (astrophysics and neurology) compared to soft science (human development and family relations). I can appreciate stories based on either hard or soft science. Most others, I'm afraid, prefer hard science and the harder the better. This story should please both.

Dan Shade -- Dr. Dan's Elixir


...this is a wonderful short novel that shows what good science fiction can be. The author takes pseudoscience with a ring of authenticity and mixes the plot with some believable characters that the reader can identify with. This is a very good example of near-future sf.

R-Laurraine Tutihasi -- Simegen Reviews


An Audience for Einstein by Mark Wakely is the "Recommended Read" for May 2006

Online Review of Books and Current Affairs

Mark Wakely's talents and imagination combine nicely with his background and "interest in all things scientific" in An Audience for Einstein. The story is well crafted and fast paced. Wakely's characters are rich with human desires, fears, problems, foibles, and reality, and he teases and tempts them and the reader with possibilities, then taunts with doubts and questions. I was tugged into the in-depth self-examination and insight, and moral and ethical issues that haunt scientific endeavors—or should—while Wakely's story crafting skills kept me engrossed in the tale. Well written, well told, and well worth the read. An Audience for Einstein is a bookshelf keeper.

Charlene Austin, author of Dream Pictures

An Audience for Einstein by Mark Wakely is a truly mind catching metaphorical novel placing the interpretive mentality of some of the most brilliant scientists of history. Readers will fall into the plot as main character Professor Percival Marlowe, an incredibly intellectual astrophysicist is nearing death without having the closure of finishing his greatest discovery. Follow Professor Percival Marlowe as he struggles with the concept of death, having to face it with fear or acceptance. A strongly recommended read for all fans of science fiction, as well as the general non-interest reader who enjoys a brilliant piece of fiction, An Audience for Einstein would make a popular addition to any community library's science fiction collection.

Midwest Book Review

An Audience for Einstein takes an interesting slant on the "mind/brain swap" sub genre of Science Fiction. The science elements, which are at times necessary, are never intrusive and add an element of realism. Better still, Wakely’s initial education was formerly in the scientific fields, adding weight to his theories and lending the novel a tone of hard SF. With this novel though, you don’t need a degree in neurosurgery or quantum physics to understand it. What makes An Audience for Einstein work however, isn’t the fantastical science. This is merely a backdrop for strong characters and interwoven themes of egotism, self-identity and the "right to live" debate, which is handled effectively without being morally overbearing. An Audience for Einstein is an enjoyable and though provoking read, which never veers into the realms of "too heavy" yet still has something to say.

Theresa Derwin -- Bookpleasures.com


With severe moral, ethical, and even religious implications, An Audience for Einstein is a think piece crammed in a modern-day discourse on science gone askew. Wakely clearly has a fascination with science and has certainly done his homework in his well-crafted treatise.

Nick Bajzek -- The Elmhurst College Leader Newspaper, September 27, 2005


5 Stars! Every now and then, you read a book by a new author that not only engages your mind, but your heart as well. An Audience for Einstein is just such a book--and what a wonderful book it is. I actually read it twice to make sure I hadn't missed anything the first time through—the plot twists and turns are just so clever. It's one of those rare novels you find yourself thinking about and reacting to for days afterwards—to me, that's not just good fiction, that's great fiction. An Audience for Einstein should be a "must-read" on everyone's list.

Linda Yung -- Amazon Reviewer


4 Stars! A scary look at the world of science when an intelligent doctor's morals become twisted. The wish for immortality can be all consuming. Even when one knows that it is morally wrong to take without asking, especially in this manner, the temptation can still be great. Readers get a glimpse into how even the most brilliant minds alive can fear death, try to cheat it, and (hopefully) learn to let go. Do not begin this book believing that you can guess the outcome. This is a very good sci-fi that will leave you in deep thoughts long after you finish reading.

Detra Fitch -- Huntress Reviews


Mark Wakely's talents and imagination combine nicely with his background and "interest in all things scientific" in An Audience for Einstein. The story is well crafted and fast paced. Wakely's characters are rich with human desires, fears, problems, foibles, and reality, and he teases and tempts them and the reader with possibilities, then taunts with doubts and questions. I was tugged into the in-depth self-examination and insight, and moral and ethical issues that haunt scientific endeavors-or should- while Wakely's story crafting skills kept me engrossed in the tale. Well written, well told, and well worth the read. An Audience for Einstein is a bookshelf keeper.

Charlene Austin

An Audience For Einstein is an intelligent, moving novel from Mark Wakely. Philosophical, yet cleverly written [and] thought provoking. As a first book, it jumps from the pages, forcing you to ponder the consequences of our actions. That’s what good literature is supposed to do. What’s next? Movie? Bravo Mr Wakely.

Tim Lasiuta -- Penguin Comics.net


Mark Wakely’s An Audience for Einstein is a well-written, at times riveting story of the search for the afterlife. ...Wakely is clearly an excellent and concise writer... All in all, An Audience for Einstein is an interesting and good read that would make for great bedtime reading material for those who have an interest in science.

Ellen Feig -- Skuawk Literature Reviews


4 Stars! A clever, original, and satisfying manipulation of science-fiction topics, Mark Wakely's An Audience For Einstein is a real achievement.

R. Swords, Elmhurst, IL

5 Stars! Although, it is promoted as a sci-fi book, this was definitely so much more than I anticipated. Full of emotions and twists, you will not want this book to end. Although this is Wakely's first novel, the book reads as though he's finishing a collection.

GetBookReviews.com

5 Stars! A superbly intriguing and original plot.

D. Martin, Amazon Reviewer

5 Stars! In An Audience For Einstein, Mark Wakely gives us a compelling story that could have been written by a young Kurt Vonnegut. His novel provides a cautionary tale of the abuse of privilege and the ethical ambiguities and tradeoffs of a possible near future in which the "mind/body problem" takes on very practical significance. Enjoyable and thought provoking.

George T, Elmhurst, IL

5 Stars! An extremely clever and unique story. An Audience For Einstein is a great read! I couldn't put it down and finished the book in one night. Each chapter had a new surprise and so did the ending! Mark Wakely has the uncanny ability to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire book. I sure hope there is a sequel! This one could turn into a series.

Chicago, Wheaton, Illinois

In this science fiction thriller and winner of the 2003 National Writing Contest, Wakely presents rich character analysis in a theory of our not-so-distant future.

Will Petty -- West Suburban Living Magazine


5 Stars! It's also a lot more emotional than your standard sci-fi story, with an ending that packs a wallop. It's a compelling, brilliantly crafted story both chilling and heartfelt in unexpected ways.

Paul Fellows, Amazon Reviewer


4 Suns

An Audience for Einstein is a truly futuristic Science fiction novel. We step back in time to fully comprehend the goals and dreams of one of the chief characters, Astrophysicist Professor Percival Marlowe. Then we meet him again, in his waning years, his achievement as yet incomplete. You cannot help but to sympathize with his increasing frustration, even desperation.

Young Miguel Sanchez (in a collision course with the good professor from the start) is motivated by his circumstances to voluntarily take on the knowledge, education and memory of the aging Professor Marlowe. We readers understand Marlowe’s motivation in imparting these (which on one hand might seem a great gift) because he so desires that his greatest achievement will be reached. The means are brought about by a possibly less-than-ethical doctor, who’s own greatest achievement allows that access to the mind’s memories.

But its never so simple as all that. The gift of mind and memory will result in the loss of the self-–Miguel, as he was, will cease to exist, merely becoming a tool of Marlowe. We see this coming before Miguel, and wait for the contemplative and soul-searching on a journey that must surely and thoroughly affect all three chief participants in the scheme.

The relationship that develops between Marlowe and Miguel is surprising and fascinating. Once or twice, in the war between he who was Marlowe and Miguel’s own personality, the personalities don’t stay quite true to themselves (Miguel especially, has a knowledge level that seems to increase in the struggle to assert itself, then recedes…which appears to be the point, but it seems hardly fair that he both uses and rejects Marlowe’s intelligence, at the same time.) Certainly, the personality struggle is the absolute center of the story, and at the same time, difficult to exhibit coherently. Other characters, like Natalie, offer a different (if limited) perspective on the ongoing impact on Miguel. In addition to the main characters, it’s wonderful to find secondary characters so full and rich and well-developed.

Science is a major component in this original novel which is ultimately about people, choices and identifying right and wrong.

A lot of An Audience for Einstein recalls the older, classic stories of science-fiction. The achievements of the future; the science supporting the goals are almost in sight, and the moral and ethical cost is part of the plot. This work offers a rather dark premise and not surprisingly leads to a rather dark story.

Very satisfying and engaging. I give this story 4 suns.

Snapdragon -- Aurora Reviews
Excerpt

Prologue

Cambridge, England 1924

In all of his fifteen years, nothing mattered more to him than this.

The poolside bleachers were filled to capacity, the students intense in their crisp red and white uniforms, the faculty men serious in their school sweaters and sturdy black bowlers. They clapped and cheered as he lined up with the rest of the swim team qualifiers for the final race. He faced the end lane, having barely earned a berth.

"I didn't sleep very well last night," he said over the din to the taller, more muscular teen next to him. "Did you?"

The teen scoffed, stretched up on his tiptoes as if to emphasize the physical difference between them then rolled his shoulders to loosen up. "I slept like a baby. That comes from having confidence. Something you must not possess."

Another school cheer went up from the tightly packed crowd, echoing in the cavernous, tiled room. One of the swimmers dipped his foot in the smooth water, sending ripples on their way to the other side.

The smaller boy waved his arms about to limber up. "It's not that, it's just that it all comes down to this, our last and most important race of the season. School champion." He looked at the mass of spectators on either side of the pool with scarcely concealed trepidation.

The teen regarded him with a brief sneer. "That's right. And frankly, I'm shocked you actually made it this far, Marlowe."

"Well I did, didn't I?"

"Doesn't matter. Everyone's certain you're going to lose, you know. You're just a brainy underclassman, not a true athlete like me." He flexed prominent biceps to make his point. "Go back to your books, bookworm. You're no threat."

Percival drew himself up, his expression dark. "We'll see about that, my good man."

The teen sneered again as he twisted from side to side. "I suppose we will."

A group of teenage girls clapped in unison, and then one of them held up a paper sign with the tall teen's name scrawled on it.

The teen waved to them. They squealed and waved back, bouncing up and down.

"See that, Marlowe? How can I possibly lose with them cheering me on?"

Percival stared wistfully at the auburn-haired girl with the sign as he now twisted. "I could win it."

The teen scoffed. "Not likely. This is for all the glory. I'm not going to let it get away. The rewards will be great and many, if you know what I mean." He nodded at the girls then glanced at Percival with scorn. "But then again, I don't think that you do."

The swimming coach stepped forward, satisfied with the team's preparation.

"Ready, lads."

The young swimmers meticulously assumed their start positions as the crowd quieted down.

"May the best man win," Percival offered.

"Yes," said the teen. "And that will be me."

The coach raised a silver whistle, a stopwatch in his other hand.

"Steady now, gentlemen."

The swimmers leaned forward, muscles tensed.

The sound of the whistle launched them.

He flopped into the water, a terrible start. All Percival saw were the feet of the other swimmers as they sped away.

He dug in, his arms flying and legs kicking furiously. They all reached the other side and turned around at nearly the same time.

His lungs aching, he swam with an intensity he never had before, determined to prove everyone wrong.

He drew even with the leader, the tall teen next to him. The teen looked startled to see him, and in that instant, lost his rhythm and faltered.

Percival took advantage of the teen's mistake, and took the lead.

The teen swam frantically to close the distance in the last few feet, but Percival lunged forward and touched the wall half a heartbeat before the teen did.

The coach stood in front of Percival's lane, staring at the stopwatch with surprise and delight. He raised his hand to silence the excited chattering in the room, everyone now on their feet. The only sound was that of the swimmers' labored breathing.

"The winner, with a new school record, Percival Marlowe!"

Percival's arms shot up out of the water as the bleachers erupted in a roar of approval.

The tall teen turned his back to him, and the other swimmers huddled to whisper in amazement.

They all climbed out and grabbed their towels to dry off for the award ceremony. Percival acknowledged the congratulations from several of his teammates-solid pats on his back and playful shoves- then stepped up to the top of the three-level award stand for the first time. He bent down to allow his coach to slip a medal on a red and white ribbon over his head. A fresh chorus of cheers went up from the crowd. As he shook his coach's hand, he saw the group of girls applauding for him now.

He straightened up, boldly raised his right arm to point at the one who still held the sign with the vanquished teen's name on it. Aware they weren't the chosen one, the girls around her leaned away. With an innocent look, the auburn-haired girl grasped the sign in the middle with both hands, then grinned and tore it half.

On the second tier, the tall teen scowled and lowered his head.

Percival raised two fists in the air as he listened to the crowd chant his name, absorbing their adulation. Then he held out the medal for them to see, looked closely at it himself, even took a whiff of it before letting it drop back down to his chest. He wondered how, in all of life still stretching ahead of him, he would ever equal or surpass this moment, and could only conclude that would be impossible. This was, and would forever be, his one best, defining moment-the time when his life truly began, forever and ever and ever...