Wilson ( Gypsies ) perceptively imagines a biological monstrosity: John Shaw, an ordinary human with a souped-up intellect courtesy of hush-hush CIA experiments with intrauterine hormone injections. As John's hypertrophic cortical tissue succumbs to its faulty genetic structure and begins to die, his personality yields to an alter ego named Benjamin. His condition touches Susan and Amelie, two strangers who share John's sense of orphaned isolation and profound betrayal. The women upend their lives to form a fragile family and see John through to the outcome of his unwilling transformation. Wilson's skills afford credibility and even pathos to his fashionings of John and Benjamin, and of the women who love these sentient, doomed fragments of a being both alien and human. A taut ending fittingly closes this indelible portrait. (Jan . )
Genetically designed to be a prototype for the next stage of human evolution, John Shaw faces the flaw in his artificial personality as he begins to devolve into two separate individuals, each facing enemies that threaten the people vital to his/their continued sanity. Combining psychological suspense with political intrigue, the latest novel by the author of Gypsies deftly explores the fragile constructs of human consciousness. For large sf collections.