Reviewer Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in literature and the media. Starting in fall 2015, his new six-book science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted via BearManor Media. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents where he contributed interviews with a host of entertainment insiders. Before his retirement in 2016, Dr. Britton taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College. Learn more about Dr. Britton at his WEBSITE
Author: Mitchell BogatzISBN: 1516963679
Science fiction readers are likely to recognize many familiar tropes in Mitchel Bogatz’s Tiny Instruments. For example, the story of “TC5,” the incubated fifth incarnation of eminent scientist Timothy Cottard, emulates many a sci fi staple. Pre-destined to live in service to humanity but not considered human, Cottard is kept captive in a “school” for the hyper-intelligent where he’s expected to live out his 40 year cycle as a rational and unemotional being, genetically engineered to be an unquestioning member of a secluded society with no freedom of choice.
While Cottard thinks his life’s mission is to figure out how humanity can live on Venus, his unstated quest slowly becomes his, and our, exploration into what defines humanity. While his conception might have been artificial and an artificial disease will ensure a short life, what makes the gentle TC5 a mere machine despised by most humans he meets? What about his independent spirit separates him from many of his fellow artificials? What is it about him that inspires deep friendships with three humans willing to make serious sacrifices to give him a life outside of the school walls?
These are questions relevant to the novel’s plot, but these questions also indicate the wider meanings Bogatz hopes readers will take from the story. Sure, Cottard has programmed flaws and limitations, but don’t all humans share this condition? How do our preconceptions about ourselves define who we are? What does it say about humanity that we’d be willing to create beings to do our thinking for us while denying them the most basic of rights?
Tiny Instruments is a comfortable read because of its familiar elements, its straight-forward tone, and the likeability of its main protagonist as well as many of the sympathetic supporting players. TC5 is an interesting twist on Pinocchio because Cottard doesn’t know he wants to be accepted as a human, only that he wants hope, choice, and love in his life. Who’s to say he wasn’t human to start with, but no one, including Cottard, recognized it?It’s an ancient journey told in a fresh setting with readily believable and extremely developed characters.
About the Author
Mitchell Bogatz was born in Westlake Village, California. He grew up with three siblings: an older sister, a younger sister and a younger brother. He grew up watching a movie a night, and quickly found a love for good stories. He was interested in literature from a young age, even attempting at the age of twelve to write a novel entitled The Mercenary, a fantasy story about a killer's unlikely search for love. Even with these young aspirations, it wasn't until his Freshman year at UC Santa Barbara that Mitchell realized he wanted to write professionally. Despite interests in Psychology and Philosophy, he found himself constantly returning to his love for literature. Under the guidance of professional screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson (The Secretary, Chloe, Men, Women & Children) he wrote his first screenplay All That Remains. It was then that Mitchell realized his true passions. From there, he found an interest in editing, and went on to write four more screenplays and a science fiction novel Tiny Instruments. Mitchell continues to write daily. He currently resides in Santa Barbara, California.