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Second Genesis by Jeffrey Anderson
Review by Gayle Surrette
Jove Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 0515141984
Date: 25 July, 2006 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The story has been done before many times but this is a bit of a new take. The apes actually cohere and have a society that helps each other and they develop a religion of sorts. One of the apes is being tested with nonverbal IQ tests. But, as most researchers do, they discuss results and additional testing in front of the subject as if the subject were deaf, not just speech impaired. Of course the apes don't take kindly to the thought that they are 'subjects' and therefore can be tested on or carved up for tests. I mean who wouldn't react negatively to that possibility.

Meanwhile, the company isn't seeing the results of the Alzheimer's treatment that they think they're funding. A stockbroker tips off a reporter and things start to get dicey as the compound seems to have some intruders. And of course, no one is dealing with what would happen if the apes escaped into the Amazon jungle -- afterall, it's not their native habitat. But, then again the apes aren't your average apes either.

The characters are pretty close to being real scientists wrapped in their own thoughts to the exclusion of the world around them. However the plot runs along, nudged by the characters, and you find yourself drawn in and hoping it doesn't go the way it seems to be going. Drawbacks are the intrusion of bible quotes and a major character angsting over her belief in God and her place in the world. While interesting, it was so slim a thread to the plot that it ended up detracted. We never actually find out what Nakamura and Batori hoped to accomplish with their transgenic tinkering. We know they hoped to make people better but not what the underlying drive was to do this, especially since they expected to be found out and caught at some point.

It's a solid story, well told. Science, religion, mystery, and love all in one package.

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