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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Invasive Procedures by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

Invasive Procedures by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston. New York: Tor, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-7653-1424-6

“This novel,” writes co-author Aaron Johnston in the “Acknowledgments” at the front of the book, “is based on my screenplay adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s short story ‘Malpractice,’ which was first published in Analog Science Fiction in 1977.” He then goes on to explain the process by which he and Card expanded the short story into a full-length screenplay, and then into this novel.

The book itself is a medical viral contagion thriller much in the vein of Michael Chrichton’s Andromeda Strain, brought up-to-date (and beyond) with current developments in DNA and genome science. The plot involves your typical megalomaniacal mad scientist type with a plot to make over the world’s DNA, and replicate himself genetically, memory and all, in the process, rendering himself effectively immortal.

The story is based in extrapolations from current genetic, DNA and viral research developments, taken presumably just a few years into the future, since the milieu in which the story takes place could easily be today, or anytime within the next decade or two. But the actual science involved seems quite a bit beyond current developments, and some of it, frankly, is not all that believable, especially the bits where a computer chip gets implanted in your brain, with the ability to download the mad doctor’s memories on top of yours.

So, while I had difficulty in suspending my sense of disbelief at times, the story is nevertheless very well written, quite suspenseful, full of good characterizations, people you can identify with, and a good, solidly entertaining read. I wouldn’t have expected less from anything associated with Orson Scott Card, who remains one of my all time favorite authors. Definitely recommended for anyone looking for a good medical oriented scifi thriller.

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