MAXIMUM LIGHT by Nancy Kress

MAXIMUM LIGHT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 More near/medium-future biological manipulations from the author of Beggars Ride (1996), etc. By 2034, endocrine-disrupting chemical pollutants have caused a collapse in world fertility. Human cloning--crucially but quite unbelievably--doesn't work, and many women will do anything to acquire a child, or even a surrogate. Kress provides three first-person narrators. Shana Walders, 19, a wannabe soldier, exploits her physical attributes to get what she wants. While doing her year's compulsory National Service, she glimpses three monkeys with human hands and faces. But when she reports this to a powerful government committee, only dying doctor Nick Clementi believes her. Later, furious at her rejection by the army, Shana learns whose face the monkeys wore: that of Cameron Atuli, a dancer whose memories have been tampered with. Shana contacts Nick and demands action. Nick's government source, curiously, draws a blank. Shana, meanwhile, confronts Cameron, who finds he can no longer dance and wants to know what happened to him. Cameron, it emerges, was abducted by a secret organization that's producing illegal human-animal hybrids to satisfy the demand for child-substitutes; the government knows but chooses to ignore it, hoping that the illegal labs will also solve the fertility problem. Dubious characters, plotting that relies on coincidence, and a threadbare backdrop: disappointing work from this talented yet erratic writer.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-86535-X
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1997




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