GOR SAGA by Maureen Duffy


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What is it going to be like, one of these days, when different animal species are crossed in vitro, and new combinations result? Duffy's answer, in this righteous but never exactly-on-target futuristic novel, is: more of the same, simply a spreading of the urge to domination--apparently an inescapable trait of the strong. A female gorilla named Mary is impregnated in the laboratory with human sperm, and the offspring turns out to be a flat-browed, long-lipped, but fairly hairless male baby; the English project scientist, Forester, decides to call him Gordon--or Got. And Gor's life, according to Forester's plans, is one of being raised initially by various humans (who are never told of Gor's lineage) as human, rather than hominid. In adolescence, Gor even attends a typical English boarding school. But when puberty awakens Gor's glands, the whole experiment suddenly grows dicey; Gor is finally driven, utterly confused, out of society and into the urban-guerrilla zones of waste that English cities have become. And it's among the guerrillas (fittingly, punningly) that he pieces together his real status. Revenge ensues. The moral? That it's all--as an authorial mouthpiece sums up--a matter of how ""those below can be fitted into a descending order of virtue or usefulness until you tail off at the bottom with creatures who are so far down, so distant from the top as to be dismissible, of no account, another species at the mercy of the clever ones."" Intriguing for its exploration of animal rights, intermittently appealing when it has Gor a credible (if ugly) English schoolboy--but never quite the shapely parable, cautionary tale, or fantasy that talented Duffy (Wounds, Capital, etc.) means it to be.

Pub Date: June 4th, 1982
Publisher: Viking