The Observers

Damon Francis Knight, Author Tor Books $16.95 (281p) ISBN 978-0-312-93074-5
The analytic mind that has served Knight so well as distinguished editor (the Orbit anthologies) and critic (In Search of Wonder) also informs his occasional fiction. In this consideration of the politics of disease, an intelligent alien parasite is multiplying as it moves through the population. Although human hosts feel ill when the parasite leaves their body, they also seem to think with greater clarity thereafter. Dr. Wallace McNulty studies the phenomenon until the country's paranoid President John Arthur Draffy chooses behavioral epidemiologist Harriet Cleaver Owen to quarantine the early hosts for observation. In this thoughtful variation on AIDS panic told as a fast-paced thriller, the patients soon become the subjects of dangerous experiments. Characteristically, Knight plays devil's advocate by changing the focus from the intelligent, apparently benign disease to the unthinking and potentially lethal social and governmental response. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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