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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Steel Helix

Copyright 2003 by Ann Tonsor Zeddies

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Mediocre (2/5)

I first read this on the 15th July 2003.

Omo Originale, Original Man, is the race of superhumans created by the famed scientist Kuno Gunnarsson. They were engineered to be better, stronger and brighter than normal humans. However, Original Man has not built a new and better society. Instead, there is a military hierarchy, where clones are grown to predetermined roles, grown to physical adulthood in just ten years, denied recreation or any hint of individuality. Original Men are dedicated to the destruction of inferior humanity, whom they regard predictably as their rather untidy inferiors.

Piers Rameau, lapsed buddhist and brilliant scientist is doctor to the captive gene-engineered, low-gravity dancers on the colony Varuna. He is in love one of these dancers, the beautiful and gracious Dakini. It can never work, he only has to hold her fragile body too tightly to break her bones, and anyway she is not exactly the woman he would like to believe her to be.

Now Original Men invaders have attacked and destroyed the colony. Dakini is dead. Dr Rameau alone has survived. Now he is a prisoner on the invader's ship and it will be a lifetime sentence. Now he is the captive.

There is fast-moving action as the Doctor begins to realize that he does indeed have a chance to fight back against these powerful clones, and the novel ends with some excitement as he and his supporters struggle to take over this warship.

There was a moment of shock when the novel introduced me to the Rukh, a rather larger and more dangerous version of Original Man. For a dreadful moment I thought I was reading a sequel to the appalling "Saturn Rukh" by Robert L. Forward. However, it all turned out OK, these Rukh were neither alien, nor from Saturn, and I relaxed again, and enjoyed this action novel.

Loaded on the 1st August 2003.
Cover of Steel Helix
Cover art by John Dismukes