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  • kjoannerixon

The Impossible Resurrection of Grief

I want to describe just one thing in The Impossible Resurrection of Grief, and that is the animatronic birds. They're designed and built by a secondary character who is an artist--a kind of performance artist/sculptor. He makes these birds that look exactly like a type of bird that's been driven extinct by rats that followed humans as they settled near the birds' habitat. The rats ate their eggs, and so the birds are gone forever. But the robotic copies mimic the extinct species' behaviors and songs, with the one exception they're a lot more likely to come and sit on a human's finger in a friendly way.

There are two sets of birds: one set that inhabits a display where the artist's fans can come and interact with them, admiring the technical work and feeling their feelings about extinction and the destruction of the environment and climate change. And one set that lives in the hills, in the birds' former habitat, where they mimic not just the birds' songs but their nest building and pecking at seeds and so on. They don't really manage to replace the extinct species in their ecological niche, because they can't reproduce and they can't digest seeds and of course they can't be eaten by predators. They're only robots.

What they CAN do is they can hunt down and stab and poison the rats that drove them to extinction.

I finished this book over a week ago and I'm still thinking through the ethical issues it raised for me. They're radical, but I take them seriously. And I'm not sure, yet, what I think.

n.b. Not for the faint of heart. Graphic descriptions of suicide



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