VIRAVAX by Bill Ransom


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 Near-future thriller about genetic engineering, from an author best known for his science-fiction collaborations with the late Frank Herbert (The Ascension Factor, 1988, etc.). In 2015, the Central American republic of Costa Brava is host to ViraVax, a genetic research facility renowned for its vaccines. ViraVax is run by the Children of Eden, fundamentalist fanatics dedicated to restoring the crumbling ecology of planet Earth. Unknown to all but the US Defense Intelligence Agency, which keeps close tabs on the vast, mostly underground, virtually impregnable facility, ViraVax has conspired with Costa Brava's president to infect the population with viruses that have drastically cut the local birthrate; moreover, of those born, the majority suffer from Down's syndrome--a convenient and tractable supply of labor or experimental subjects for ViraVax. To neutralize the DIA's main operative, Colonel Rico Toledo, ViraVax has infected him with a virus that keeps him permanently simmering with rage and lust, and prompts him to heavy drinking. Worst of all, in the deepest, hidden levels of ViraVax lurks Dajaj Mishwe, a brilliant but totally insane researcher who has cloned two unwitting Americans, one of them Toledo; Mishwe intends for the clones, Sonja and Harry, to breed and inherit the Earth after he kills everyone else off with a virus that destroys its victims in minutes. Soundly constructed, with solid prose and realistic dialogue, but top heavy with exposition and largely undramatic; what's lacking is propellant. Still, fans of the Herbert-Ransom books will certainly want to investigate.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-441-86476-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Ace/Berkley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1993