The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid
It begins with the cover. The intriguing image of a half realistic/ half mechanical butterfly informs readers that The Diabolic examines some fascinating ideas. S. J. Kincaid's blend of intense action, SF, and romance is an intriguing study of what it means to be human.
Nemesis is a Diabolic, an individual who has been engineered and programmed to kill. She is imprinted to protect Sidonia, the daughter of Senator von Impyrean. Events take an unexpected turn when this Diabolic must take on the identity of Sidonia. Impersonating a caring, feeling person is not something that Nemesis has been programmed to do. In a world filled with deception and destruction, can a Diabolic find her humanity?
What Does It Mean to Be Human?
Nemesis struggles with her identity. Who is she? Is she a monster? Does she have a soul?
Kincaid's exploration of what constitutes one's humanity is woven throughout the narrative. Here are a few of Nemesis observations on her identity. Many of her thoughts make excellent questions for further discussion.
- "I'm not your friend. Friends are equals. We're not... I'm not here to be a companion. I'm a murderer, here to kill for you or die for you as needed. I'm your tool, your weapon - your property."
- "I surveyed the effect in the mirror. I didn't recognize this person staring back..."
- "I didn't bother carrying a weapon. I was the weapon."
- "I'd laughed. Laughed. ...Whatever was the matter with me?"
- "Or we're talking about a girl," said Donia softly. "A girl who grows up treated like a monster, so she thinks of herself that way..."
- "My thoughts turned to all those lives I'd taken over the year. Doing that made me a good Diabolic. Being a good Diabolic meant being a hideous person."
- "the subtleties of the way people - real people - thought and acted and felt were beyond me."
- "Then let your heart tell you the truth. I know you have one."
- "You glow like a star, Nemesis. A beautiful star... You're a supernova."
- "You do have a divine spark."