“Souls” in SF & Fantasy: “Soul Keepers; Soul-Smokers; Alchemists & Stones; Soul Avatars….”

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Progress! I’ve read three of the four novels I listed in my previous post (read on,  & *link at the end). And it’s been a fantastic reading journey!

All four novels have the elements that I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate in the SF & Fantasy genre: character-driven plots, alternate or fictitious histories, literary allusions, and philosophical / thought-provoking issues.

I’m not sure if I’ll be writing the kind of lengthy story summaries I’ve posted to date. But some writing will emerge, I hope!

For now, in a simplified way, here is how the title of my post emerged from  the novels I’ve read:

1) Iain M. Banks:”Look to Windward” (Culture #7) (c) 2000.

Soul Keeper devices store the intellect/personality/memories  of individuals, including humans or humanoid or alien or sentient AIs. The ‘souls’ can be restored, retrieved, and “teleported” or transferred (to the same or other individuals).

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2) Ekaterina Sedia: “The Alchemy Of Stone” (c) 2008.

A Soul-Smoker is a human who can “breath in” and store the souls of humans, dead or alive (!). Mattie, an automaton and alchemist, finds a way, with the help of the Soul-Smoker, to restore to living flesh the Stone Gargoyles.

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3) Helene Wecker:”The Golem and the Jinni” (c) 2013.

The Golem, Chava, is a clay woman made by a Polish rabbi. The Jinni, Ahmad, was trapped by an ancient Syrian wizard. When Chava and Ahmad meet and become close friends in late 19th century Manhattan, their very survival turns into an intense mental and spiritual struggle against their powerful masters. There is an ancient connection between the Syrian wizard and the Polish rabbi….

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4) I’m still reading this novel:
Kim Stanley Robinson: “The Years of the Rice and Salt” (c) 2002.

The Monkey Wu-Kong takes on the form of the Mongol and Temur warrior, Bold Bardash. As the plague spreads, Bold  finds himself alone and barely alive. He is captured in Anatolia, sold as a slave first in Egypt, and then in Zanj to the Chinese Treasure Fleets….

*notes: previous reading update

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