The Unseen World by Liz Moore is a fantasy.
“Virtual reality, she thought, was the unseen world. Or had the capacity to be. In fact, it could be said that all computer systems were such: universes that operated outside the realm of human experience, planets that spun continuously in some unseeable alternate stratosphere, present but undiscovered.”
Halloween, Mardi Gras, or Virtual Reality is for us to change form, shape, and identity. The Unseen World is that place too. People change names, become someone else, and yet the old self is still there, unseen. But not gone.
During a time in American history when it wasn’t safe to be who you were, people changed identities and became someone else. In a world where machines outlive their creators, we are confronted with the flaws of mankind. A daughter is the product of a surrogate mother and a scientist who isn’t who he says he is. He is a creator of humans and machines. He is flawed and yet his creations are more perfect. The daughter, too, is flawed and creates a human and a machine. Always the humans are flawed and the machines outlive the creators. And yet, it is always about humanity, even about the machines that want to be more human and the humans more machine-like. That is the story of this fantasy novel.
Life is a puzzle and this book presents many puzzles to be solved. It is a way a parent teaches the child, through a puzzle to be solved without actually providing the answers. She must discover on her own.
Many believe that specters or ghosts may surround us. We wonder about an afterlife, reincarnation, and other levels of existence. The Unseen World is such a place for us to imagine. We assume that machines will make our lives easier and more complete, but here that is not so. This book considers the idea of humans passing on and the machines are left alone without them. The lives of the characters aren’t made easier, they are made more complicated because of the machines. People who have trouble interacting with humans make machines. The joy of this novel is watching these humans become more human and less machine like. That which is unseen is the human element, the soul, our being.
When it is just the character and the machine interacting all the wrong things happen. After all it is the human that programs the machine. When the humans interact with themselves problems are solved, dreams are realized, and life is better because they are more human than they are machine.