MASQUE by Matthew J. Costello

MASQUE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Near-future science fiction thriller from the authors of Mirage (1996). “Mimes” are artificial humans whose sex chromosomes have been replaced by the Goleman chromosome: Using a template disk, they can “flux” into any body shape. Slaves of the predatory corporate-city “gloms,” mimes live only to gain Selfhood, freedom, and a permanent body form. Mime Tristan’s last mission for his handler, Cyrill of Kaze Glom, is to steal a McGuffin from the heavily defended Citadel of deadly rival Flagge Glom. To gain entry to the Citadel, Tristan must take the body shape of Flagge “datameister” Lani Rouge using Kaze’s newly invented writable template. Before he steals her appearance, however, Lani recognizes Tristan’s current template: It’s Trev, Lani’s now-dead ex-lover, a bioengineer deeply involved in a secret free-the-mimes resistance group. Tristan, meanwhile, duplicates Lani, steals what be needs, and escapes into the freezone, where he meets Okasan, the legendary leader of Trev’s group. Okasan says that mimes remain slaves of the gloms forever, but Tristan doesn’t believe her—until, having reported to Cyrill, he learns that Flagge allowed him to escape after contaminating him with a deadly virus that swiftly wipes out all of Kaze’s other mimes. Worse, Flagge then grabs Lani and Okasan’she’s really Teresa Coleman!’so Tristan must make some decisions about who to trust before he embarks on a rescue mission. Impressive visual effects, B-movie plot, and villains that stay mostly off-stage: an unconvincing yarn, with its glowing, vacuous gaze fixed on Hollywood. (Movie rights to Polygram Pictures)

Pub Date: April 30th, 1998
ISBN: 0-446-51977-4
Page count: 352pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1998




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