Young's second outing (his first appeared, obscurely, 15 years ago) is set in the 21st century and concerns ``microding''—i.e, altering the human body through genetic manipulation mediated by viruses. In Part One, Johnny Stevens, working at the cutting edge of the microder's art, hires his cousin, Tim Wandel, to help out in the publicity department. So sophisticated have techniques become that virtually any body type is available, from Elvis or Madonna to centaurs or medusas. However, a gang of international criminals, known as ``hammerheads,'' have microded themselves into human sharks whose goal is to destroy all land-based life. Johnny creates a virus that will microde the hammerheads back into humans, then releases it moments before a hammerhead missile demolishes his penthouse and kills him. This first part of the story is, unfortunately, confused and spasmodic in the telling. Tim discovers, in Part Two, that not all the hammerheads have been eradicated by Johnny's virus. Lurking in the deep oceans are highly modified creatures who still dream of destroying the human race. Indeed, so mutated are they that they become psychotic and destroy themselves. While much better organized, this section runs out of plot half way through. Young's concept, while not new, certainly exerts its fascinations; but his punkish romp, with its uncertain moods and lack of real imaginative commitment, barely scratches the surface of the possibilities here.
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