The Keeper by Joshua L. Hamilton


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Post November 12, 2008, 11:52:50 PM

The Keeper by Joshua L. Hamilton

liked it. touching, and i think i got the ending - it achieved that rare feat of being equally impactful as the beginning. that was the new Keeper arriving.

the keeper was excellently described, the garden well detailed, and the moral clear. refreshingly, this wasn't an environmental story, but one harking back to the good old cold war days...which i also liked.

it reminded me of a short we had a couple years back, about a dolphin taking a human for a ride as the world deteriorated...i'm like the Keeper, my mind's a mess. if anyone remembers which one i'm talking about, let me know!

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Post November 14, 2008, 07:54:56 PM

The Keeper by Joshua L. Hamilton

I wonder if the Keeper were a robot, or some farm machine designed to tend a vast and bountiful terrarium, placed on Earth to insure that all indigenous specimens were stored in order to be re-introduced into Earth’s environment after a global catastrophe? Or, is the Keeper an alien? Some might think of him as a God!! Is the terrarium really Eden? Was the Garden of Eden a terrarium? Food for thought, and this story generate much thought-provoking twists and scenes as the narration unfolds the story!

The writing good, the story-telling good without anything to nit-pick about, and the storyline without question, was well thought-out and integrated from beginning to end.

The interpretations to this story can be many, and I believe that symbolism in the form of the Eagles near the end stand for possibly America!!

What was the Keeper? From the description, he/she must be a relative of a giant squid or octopus! And has adapted to land, eons ago from some civilization that has vanished into forgotten memories that the Keeper once might have had, but now forever lost to time’s ever eroding effect on any memories formed eons ago!!

Yet, the thoughts and feelings of the Keeper surged through, and we learn that he is the sole proprietor of this terrarium or Garden of Eden as the story also suggests. And it’s been his duty to feed and care for all the living things that inhabits the garden whether plant or animal.

And animals and plants---I like how the author suggests plants can travel---continue to enter into the Keeper’s garden, all except man until the last.

The eagles at the front gate means something, I’m not sure what, but the suggesting of American comes to mind. Why Eagles? Why not Robbins or Doves or even Blue Jays for that matter, but the author introduced Eagles, and emphasized them with: “They were, as it turned out, a pair of eagles; great, majestic birds with heads crowned in white feathers.” I think that a colon should have been used instead of a semicolon, but getting back to the Eagles, I feel very strong that they have some type of meaning!!

When we come to the end of the story, a Nuclear War has enveloped Earth, and animals, birds, and plants are entering the Keeper’s garden almost like it were Noah’s Ark. A nice merge of symbolism, maybe!

Finally a man enters the garden, alone wearing a uniform with decorations. A lone military man who has witnessed the end of Earth as he knows it. And his eyes show hopelessness, for he knows what has happened Above, as the Keeper refers to it!!

Now here at the end we might see that the lone man will become the new Keeper! Maybe. The story does suggest that the Keeper will die! And if this is the only human to every enter the garden, then maybe that is what the Keeper was waiting for. To teach him, show him as the Keeper said: “you will understand. I am the Keeper, my friend. Welcome to Eden.”

Of course, it might not be that way.

Great story!! Loved it!!
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Post November 15, 2008, 10:44:58 AM

The Keeper

I liked this story; it is well written, nicely paced, poetic, timeless. It's a way of putting a fairy-tale finish to the only real issue of our time - Global warming and our destruction of the planet. I truely believe that within 40 years, our children and grandchildren will be dragging us into the streets to be hanged for our crimes against them and our environment - unless we can find some solution.
It's difficult to write Sci-Fi knowing mankind may never leave the Solar System because we are destoying the cradle.
Good story, good writing, good subject. Enjoyed it.

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Post November 21, 2008, 11:40:47 PM

Spoilers:

George, i think it's pretty clear the Keeper was human, that's why he's about the be relieved, the next Keeper has arrived.

i don't think this is necessarily a lament, nor is it trying to make humanity look bad. sure there's criticism here, but also a lot of love for humanity, for while it destroys much, it is also the only species that can be trusted to understand and manage things, the only creature capable of high level reasoning and creativity. Humans are ultimately Earth's custodians - that's what i took away from the story.

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Post November 22, 2008, 09:38:47 AM

He had a large number of arms, varying widely in size and purpose. It would be difficult to say exactly how many, for they were always in motion; spinning and whirling in eye-twisting convolutions. Some he walked on; large, heavy appendages that ended in smooth, flat stumps. Others, smaller and more dexterous, put food and water in his mouth, or tended the beasts, or watered and pruned the lush growth all around him. The rest, for the most part, were an extension of his senses. They reached out in all directions, dipping into the soil, waving in the air, or swishing through the water; tasting, testing, and interpreting the environment around him.

After re-reading one of the beginning paragraphs, I can’t see the ‘Keeper’ as human!. A large number of arms! Some he walked on! Flat Stumps! Others smaller and more dexterous!

The description in this paragraph suggests either some machine or an octopus-looking being tending a garden. And I just thought of something: octopi do have their gardens!

I can not say for certain that the keeper was human. Another species that once inhabited the earth and destroyed it eons ago, yes. But human, no.
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Post November 23, 2008, 11:42:36 PM

well he's been there for who knows how long, so probably mutated/adjusted to the task. i stand by my assertion, i think the keeper is a human being, or a post human.

only the author can help sort this out...
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Post November 24, 2008, 10:00:21 AM

neoadorable wrote:well he's been there for who knows how long, so probably mutated/adjusted to the task. i stand by my assertion, i think the keeper is a human being, or a post human.


The billions of years thing kind of negates the whole concept that the Keeper was human. Don't forget, he watched them critters evolve and dominate.

No doubt there are a pair of homo habilis, neandertal and cro magnons down there, as well.

I'm thinking more along the lines of the last of the dominant species that predated the entire history of our planet since the last 'renewal.'

Probably also the species that brought that on and made us possible.

My 2 cents worth.

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"I am Susan Ivanova. . . .I am the Right Hand of Vengence. . .I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."

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Post November 24, 2008, 08:29:42 PM

Not human. An ancient cephalopod, most likely of the octopus or squid species. As I recall, The Beatles sang of an octopus's garden.
Adam arrives at Eden, soon to be followed by Eve, hopefully. Perhaps better able to deal with the serpent, based on past experience.
Vibrant colorful descriptions. Fascinating tale. Well done.

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Post November 25, 2008, 07:23:04 AM

hmm interesting points, but it's certainly suggested the human is the next keeper. i'm still thinking the current one is a former human, although it's true that he's been there for aeons, which doesn't jive with humanity's track record.

where's the author, we need answers!
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Post November 25, 2008, 09:03:46 AM

The keeper

This reads like a highly modified and personalized Hindu cosmology/mythology story. Sprinkle a bit of western mythology add a drop of everyday and stir.

I don't see an issue here.

RT
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Post November 26, 2008, 05:09:33 PM

I like the idea of leaving the story unresolved. No one needs to ride in and present the answer to us. Open ended is a fun way to acheive a para-closing, everyone's right.
But I don't think the keeper is human - I think the Keeper is whatever species was in control during the last round of creation - destruction. Perhaps he is the last one, finally finishing his species's atonement for a previous destructive cycle.
The creature's description reminds me of Lovecraft's alien gods...only a lot nicer.

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Post November 30, 2008, 10:19:21 PM

yeah sure, we can agree to leave it at that unless the author comes in and tells us otherwise. the HP allusion is an interesting one, though.

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