If you thought Immortality was powerful, just wait until you read the sequel.

Ghost of the Gods

 

The fate of humanity may be worse than death in this involving conclusion to Bohacz’s (Immortality, 2007) two-part techno-thriller. Two years have passed since the events of Immortality, when nanotech-plague kill zones reduced the population of the world to a slight fraction of what it had been. No natural disease, the plague was unleashed by the god-machine—an ancient, sentient network housed in supercolonies across the globe—whose inscrutable calculations showed it was to the benefit of Earth for the human population to be pruned back. Although the time of kill zones ended as abruptly as it began, only a few people know the truth—and that truth is a liability the recovering governments cannot allow the public to hear. Dr. Kathy Morrison, a former scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who first studied the kill zones, now lives in a small settlement of scientists in Pueblo Canyon, Ariz., eking out an existence and hoping to stay beneath the government’s radar. The biologist Dr. Mark Freedman lives there, too, as well as former police officer Sarah Mayfair, one of the few to survive after being inside a kill zone. But Mark and Sarah are hybrids now, with the nanotech seeds of the god-machine steadily replacing their biology with nanotechnology, making them smarter, faster and active peripherals in the god-machine’s “n-web network,” the wireless neurological interface carried by bacteria into nearly all multicelled creatures on earth. Across the n-web, Mark and Sarah feel a pull—a “singularity,” as Mark calls it, “like a black hole…sucking in all the data from the n-web around it”—that they’re drawn to investigate. Mark and Sarah leave their refuge on a quest that takes them across the nation and toward a terrifying conclusion. The horrors of the plague, they realize, were only a harbinger of more disasters. Meanwhile, Kathy, fearing what her ex-patient, Sarah, and lover, Mark, were becoming, stays behind only to be discovered by “Peacekeeper” forces under the direction of Gen. McKafferty, a misguided patriot who holds these three responsible for the death of millions; he’ll stop at nothing to capture them. Blending fierce action, twisted conspiracies and bold “transhumanist” visions, Bohacz once again drives readers through a whirlwind in which even the characters aren’t sure if their thoughts are their own or if they were installed by the god-machine. Though the novel occasionally falters under the weighty exposition of its own ideas, Bohacz constantly raises the stakes, and the crisp dialogue and well-drawn characters keep the story barreling forward.

If you thought Immortality was powerful, just wait until you read the sequel.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0979181535

Page Count: 389

Publisher: Mazel & Sechel

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2013

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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