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   Makeshift Prince, The, by Don Viets  
  Novel, first publication in July 2004
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       Additional Information  
      The Makeshift Prince is an adventure tale based on the archetype of Jonah and the Whale. In this story, the boy, Jonah, by reasons of illness, loses conscious awareness of the familiar world around him, and awakens to an alternate reality that presents him with a new set of friends, a new family of his own choosing, and a new way of looking at his own existence. In this "new world," Jonah acts as an agent of free will who finds himself in a world that is programmed by technology, so that its government and people act in accordance with the dictates of their predestined roles, until Jonah arrives and upsets the hierarchy animating their being. Those who inhabit the realm of "reality" that Jonah happens into are duplicitous by nature. Their true nature is withheld from others, and even from themselves for the most part, while their roles become their prominent identities. Unbeknownst to all but a few, including the professor and his inner circle, it is these computer generated roles that motivated them, and mitigate against the expression of their true selves in favor of the role to which their conscience and their integrity have been subjugated. Jonah learns from his adventure that it is not so much what one possesses in life, but rather what one knows, and who one relates to that is the true measure of worth and value. And in sharing this lesson with others, he is able to liberate them from the bondage of conformity, duplicity and meaninglessness. But can he ever return to the childhood that he left behind? And is there a benevolent intelligence beyond what he has discovered?

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