CONVERTS by Ian Watson


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Promising at first, then disappointing: an emerging-superman yarn, based on ideas from Watson's recent story collection, Sunstroke and Other Stories (p. 432). A super-rich Sponsor possesses a formula that can turn anyone into the Superbeing of his or her inmost desires. The first human volunteer, Jean Bandwich, becomes ""Geneva,"" an eight-foot-tall giantess; intrigued, the Sponsor takes his own treatment--and becomes Ariel, a tiny winged sprite. Subsequent transformees, equally amusing and inventive, include Silvester the tree-man and an all-seeing Argus. And eventually the transformees are united in a sort of group mind. But then, outside the Sponsor's reservation, fanatical ""God Nuts"" are threatening destruction--so the group mind captures and treats them; the God Nuts, led by renegade psychologist Robina, form a second group mind; and, while a god from a group-minded parallel world shows up to forbid any more treatments, Robina and company attack, defeat, and permanently imprison the Sponsor's group, then take to a hideaway of their own. (Despite their transformations, you see, they're still God Nuts, unhappy with their new images.) Appealing notions, but weakly, inconclusively developed--along with Watson's usual sub-par characters and backdrop.

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 1984
ISBN: 0759207461
Publisher: St. Martin's