Menachem""s Seed

Carl Djerassi, Author, Djerassi, Author University of Georgia Press $21.95 (216p) ISBN 978-0-8203-1925-4
""I try to make comprehensible the culture and behavior of scientists,"" writes Djerassi (Cantor's Dilemma; The Bourbaki Gambit) in the preface to the third novel in his ""science-in-fiction"" tetralogy. And Djerassi, known as the ""Father of the Pill,"" means it--sort of. In this tale of Middle East intrigue and artificial insemination, we get scientists at high-powered dinners and top-secret policy discussions, scientists on junkets to Vienna and London and Paris, scientists in mixed saunas full of other scientists. We even get scientists in love: ""He had reached, patiently but surely, the intended objective: Melanie's mons veneris."" These are scientists as imagined by Judith Kranz, The Revenge of the Nerds as written by Danielle Steel--but Djerassi doesn't show any flair for bringing characters or situations to life. The novel's one Frenchman chain smokes and speaks in unrelenting Gallicisms: he's the Funny European. The one Palestinian (a negotiator) loses his temper and sputters about ""You Jews, who control the media"": he's the Arab Foil. And the Hero, an open-necked, terminally menschlich Israeli military advisor, makes even these stereotypes look interesting and unpredictable. Those most likely to appreciate his glorified technocrats are scientists themselves (a few of whom make cameo appearances in the book). As fictional thinking about technology, however, Djerassi's work pales in comparison to that of, say, Richard Powers and Jonathan Franzen. This petri-fying tale of sluggish sperm and pre-Camp David detente is all-too-haphazardly conceived. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.