BRAIN ROSE by Nancy Kress
Kirkus Star


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Scintillating near-future psychological science fiction involving reincarnation and racial memory, from the author of mediocre fantasies (The Golden Grove, The White Pipes) and an sf novel (An Alien Light, not seen). The technique of Previous Life Access Surgery enables patients to recall actual memories from past lives. At the same time, a new plague virus that destroys memories is spreading. And the ubiquitous, cult-like Gaeists insist that the Earth regulates itself, neutralizing pollution and so forth, so as to keep conditions favorable for life. Are these matters related? Well, three post-surgery patients--rich, perceptive Caroline Bohentin; rigid government plague lawyer Joe McLaren; and immature, rebellious Robbie Brekke--discover that their previous-life memories overlap (for instance, Robbie was once Caroline's son, while in this life her daughter is dying of plague). Soon Robbie, obsessed with instant riches, plunges into a previous life in which he stashed a fortune in a remote cave, and disappears from the hospital. Joe's colleague Jeff Pirelli, meanwhile, has gathered data that shows an inexplicable connection between plague and the PLAS surgery: if you have had, or ever will have, the surgery, you won't get plague! Furthermore, Robbie's past memories interweave with hundreds of other people's previous lives: he's a focus of the ""over-memory,"" a maybe-Godlike entity that's struggling to be born. Superbly plotted and thought through, with three-dimensional characters and provocative ideas in an engrossing narrative: altogether outstanding.

Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 1989
Publisher: Morrow