Solo venture for the coauthor (with Margaret Weis) of the fantasy Deathgate Cycle, etc. By 2010, a new and deadly viral epidemic, V-CIDS, threatens the US, and a beleaguered President has ordained the creation of isolated camps to quarantine those infected--anyone suspected of contact with a victim is also rounded up whether he or she is sick or not. Particularly under suspicion is the gay community, whose members are treated with special harshness. Television executive Michael Barris finds that his estranged gay son, Jason, has disappeared into the camp system, so he arranges to join the next shipment of internees; the legitimate prisoners are implanted with transponders, so that they're instantly spotted if they try to escape. Michael finds Newhouse Center a disgusting and degrading place, with bodies stacked like cordwood--a place run with ruthless brutality by a prisoner elite. He struggles to survive and make contact with Jason, though the gays are ghettoized and treated worst of all. The military spy on everyone--but what the inmates don't know is that they're in an extermination camp: Anyone surviving the purposefully murderous regime will be firebombed and their remains bulldozed into the desert sands. A praiseworthy attempt at consciousness-raising, but with same gross flaws--in plotting, characterization, backdrop, and development--as Hickman's previous offerings.