Clark’s characters grapple well with the moral dilemmas of designing a child, but the additional topics he addresses—religion, eugenics, Nazism, human sexuality, race, and consensual sexual violence, to name a few—are often glanced over. The narrative brings them forward dramatically only to resolve them in a manner of pages, undermining the weight of their implications.
Awkward dialogue and interactions between characters, and some clumsy narrative techniques, tend to drag down the pace of the plot. Clark tries hard to reach for a broader understanding of the future of reproductive technology, but his narrative lacks nuance, preventing the reader from truly grasping the horror that can arise from designing children from scratch. Despite this debut’s fumbles, science fiction readers interested in emerging technology and moral dilemmas will find enough to engage with and will keenly await future installments.
Takeaway: Readers interested in the implications of human genetic engineering will appreciate Clark’s disturbing vision of a near-future era of designer babies.
Great for fans of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Theodore Sturgeon’s More than Human.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A