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Carl Djerassi, Author, Djerassi, Author
Carl Djerassi, Author, Djerassi, Author University of Georgia Press $24.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-8203-2032-8
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Carl ""The Father of the Pill"" Djerassi returns with another ""science-in-fiction"" account (after Menachem's Seed) of discovery in the making, his newest subject being the intersection of capitalism and reproductive technology. Brilliant grad student Renu Krishnan is sent by her professor at Brandeis, Felix Frankenthaler, to research the effect of nitric oxide (the NO of the title) on penile tumescence. In Israel, she falls for her co-worker, Jeptha Cohn; their experiments on his erection invention become downright personal. She also falls, in a different way, for Martin Gestler--a businessman who persuades Renu to give up academic science to produce and market their NO ""platform."" The dizzying array of acronyms and superwonks (including return players like Menachem Dvir and Melanie Laidlaw) can bore and terrify readers by turns as they throw around words like ""polyzeniumpolyolates"" in casual conversation, but Djerassi clearly knows his way around labs and the money that makes them go--even if the success of Viagra lends unintentional prescience to the novel's scientific-fiscal intrigues. (Sept.)
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