HOT SKY AT MIDNIGHT by Robert Silverberg


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 Near/medium-future yarn involving genetic engineering, pollution, space habitats and espionage, from the author of The Face of the Waters (1991), etc. Victor Farkas, a genetically engineered eyeless man with compensating all-round proprioceptive vision, and also an agent of the giant Kyocera-Merck corporation, travels to the space habitat Valparaiso Nuevo seeking Dr. Wu, the genetics whiz who engineered his sight without eyes. Wu, who has hidden himself aboard the habitat, is required to help with physiological research concerning a new starship drive. Meanwhile, on dying, polluted Earth, another genetics whiz, Nick Rhodes, works for Samurai Industries to genetically engineer humans capable of breathing the poisonous fumes that soon will constitute Earth's only atmosphere. Meshoam Enron, an Israeli spy posing as a journalist, quizzes first Rhodes and, later, Farkas, intending to join a conspiracy aimed at capturing Valparaiso Nuevo. Rhodes's friend, Paul Carpenter, an ex iceberg-trawlerman with a flawed character, clashes with the distrustful Farkas; the planned attack on the habitat goes awry, killing Enron and Farkas. Rhodes, to prevent Samurai from gaining a monopoly, moves his operation to Kyocera-Merck; Carpenter gives up his eyes to become a starship pilot. The plentiful, well thought-out ideas and professionally engaging characters do not quite compensate for the strained plotting and feebly unsatisfying windup: an average outing for the veteran editor-writer, promising more than it delivers.

Pub Date: Jan. 17th, 1994
ISBN: 0-553-09248-0
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1993


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