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THE TOMORROW FILE

Tomorrow's not far off in a plastiworld (everything, by the way, does seem to be plastiformed) of acronyms, computers, cassettes, clones, spare parts, genetic variants, government-licensed pregnancies and genders, synthetic foods and drugs, cosmetics to be applied to your most intimate recesses, and chromosomatic "efs" and "ems" (i.e., females, males)—a world in which you could easily lose your mind as well as your Personhood. In fact the plaintive message on page 520 is "What will we do when the mystery is gone?" The only em you'll have to remember is Dr. Nicholas Bennington Flair—he of the Tomorrow File where ideas for the future are to be developed—like the Ultimate Pleasure pill. This is the nearest thing to a story line—the UP which will serve for jerking off or "mildifying" terrorism or increasing production or perhaps subjugating the people (if that's what they still are). (Although there's a fringe coterie of Obsos—religious or health nuts—or Beists, who believe in the Life Force.) You'll find an occasional subsidiary drama here and there: an outbreak of botulism (from licking stamps) or an attempt to preserve the brain of a great but doomed man. But mostly this is a long workup with lots of programmed manipulation, mechanical accessories, massive input of scientific gear and terminology. Sanders, as everyone knows, is a showy and inventive writer but difficult to stabilize between his best books (The Anderson Tapes; The First Deadly Sin) and his Down pills. Like this one which really sinks in the absence of a scenario. But then of course in this new order where they've thought of everything, they have their own newspeak like "Scan and Destroy." It could be self-fulfilling.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0586060634

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1975

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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