Another mad fantasy by Foos (Portrait of the Walrus by a Young Artist, 1997, etc.), who here imagines the complications attending the birth of the first human clone. You might think that the absence of fathers would simplify things considerably down at Family Court. Think again. Maxi Dublin, in her mid-30s, got the idea that she would like to be a mother before it was too late. A cat breeder, Maxi is unmarried and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future, but her assistant Jerry is young and virile—if gay—and seems capable of being seduced, so Maxi has him over for dinner one night. Things don—t go exactly as planned, but nevertheless Maxi soon discovers that something is growing in her womb, and in due course she delivers a healthy baby girl. Jerry, however, isn—t the father. In fact, no one is: the baby is a clone of Maxi, the first successful human clone in history. Suddenly Maxi and her baby Middle are at the center of a media whirlwind, with scientists, philosophers, and politicians from every corner of the globe demanding to know how Maxi did it and whether she should be feted or condemned. Maxi's mother Minnie steps in, too, claiming that the baby is rightfully hers: Since Middle is Maxie's clone (i.e., since she's identical to Maxie), she's actually Minnie's daughter. Got that? The legal claim is pretty thin, but this is a new field, after all. So Minnie takes matters into her own hands and kidnaps the baby. Suddenly the HMOs, eager to learn how to clone people, join the fray: Unless the baby's returned and offered for medical examination, all coverage will be dropped nationwide. Poor Maxi. She just wants her baby/self back, so they can live a normal life together. As if there was ever half a chance in the first place. Funny and sharp, though a bit labored in its own sense of relevance and lacking the light touch of Foos's earlier romps.
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