So far, I’m finding The House of the Scorpion to be a very enjoyable read; it’s definitely the easiest book to make sense of that we’ve read this semester, and the narrative is interesting. I’m not sure how much of the ease comes from the fact that it’s written for a younger audience (probably a lot of it), but at any rate, it’s kept my interest and I’m curious to see where the book is headed after chapters 1-14.
The House of the Scorpion is a definitive shift from the style of science fiction we have read thus far, with its differences lying in the subject matter. One key aspect that sticks out to me that marks this book as notably different from the other books we have read is that it’s about cloning; Frankenstein was about creating a new human (or monster?) out of old human parts, which is probably the closest thing to cloning that we’ve read. Neuromancer and Blindsight focused heavily on a new world of fantastical technological advances, but not on the creation of a human being.
How exactly IS cloning science fiction? Sure, it’s not something scientifically that we’ve managed to make possible for humans (let’s not forget about Dolly, the infamous sheep), but still, a clone is an exact replication of a human; a clone is no different genetically, and in ALL possible ways, is a human. In the world of Scorpion, clones are treated horribly, unlike those who have technologically altered themselves in such books as Neuromancer. When Matt first gets hurt by the glass and is being treated by the doctor, everyone in the Alacrán family is repulsed by him when they find out he is a clone; after that, he is treated like a beast, left to live in a cell with sawdust and to pee on the floor like a dog. He wonders why he is treated like Maria’s dog, Furball, even though he has proven himself to be intelligent; often, he is not even held responsible for his actions because he “doesn’t know any better,” no more intelligent than an animal, which does not know the different between right and wrong. Even though he excels in piano, guitar, and reading, he still is only a clone, left to be loved by very few. Despite the fact that Matt is the most human creation seen in all of the novels we have read for science fiction, he is treated the most inhumanely, which is the idea that I find to be most prevalent thus far in the novel.