Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Invasive Procedures

The bad guys save dying children, feed the homeless, and have a goal of curing the world. The good guys, on the other hand, commandeer cars, prevent kids from being healed, and let others die in a burning building. The moral ambiguity makes this a tough read. The author clearly wants you to side with the "good guys".

On the outset, the "bad guys" do have a convincing case. The case is only hurt by the auto-deification of the scientist leader. He wants to heal world with his genetic cures. However, to do this, he attempts to duplicate himself in others, as well as use mind-control techniques and coercion to control people.

The principle argument seems to be of speed versus thoroughness. Is it worthwhile to rush in cures before all the details are known? This may be the only way to save certain people. However, it could also hurt others. (In this books, personalized "cures" bring about near instant death of others.)

The book supports the view that slow, steady progress in medicine is best. However, does this just leave the bad guys to pursue really bad viruses on their own? Is limiting progress a good thing, especially when knowledge is out there on how to work otherwise.

Another key element in the book is "brain control". While the evil scientist can duplicate his DNA in others, he still needs to be able to duplicate his mind. He does this by implanting his "memories" in others' minds. This, however, has unforeseen consequences as the recipients end up combing their original memories with his implanted ones.

This book explores a lot of interesting subject matter. However, the characters and storytelling have a lot to be desired .

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