GAIA'S TOYS by Rebecca Ore


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 Dystopian, cyberpunkish, near-future paranoia from the author of Slow Funeral (1994). First-person narrator Allison Dodge is a dedicated and fearless eco-terroristuntil her wicked controllers dupe her into attacking a Gulf Coast oil complex with a nuclear bomb. A team of government operatives, led by the mysterious Mr. Kearney, captures Allison, then tortures and brainwashes her. Later, after testing her rearranged loyalties, Kearney sends Allison to investigate genetics whiz Dorcas Rae. Dorcas has created a race of giant mantises that dose anxious citizens with tranquilizing pheromones; she is also perfecting some bioengineered wasps that will home is on scenes of human anger and conflict in order to sting the offenders with narcoleptic venom. The mantises tend to seek out ``drode heads'': Those receiving the public dole are required to serve as living computers via electrodes inserted directly into their brains. Willie Hunsucker, a war-damaged drode head, acquires a mantis and makes contact with a group of good-guy eco-activists; while employed as a drode head, he learns of Allison's plight through the computer net. Only together can Allison, Willie, and Dorcas defeat Kearney and escape to spread their benevolent method of ecological reconstruction. Plausibly edgy and cynical, and often absorbing, but with insufficient plot and too thin a backdrop to be fully satisfying; the incongruous combination of first- and third-person narratives also doesn't help.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-312-85781-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1995


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