cover image Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful

Arwen Elys Dayton. Delacorte, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-525-58095-9

These six linked tales delve into the question of ethics in scientific and medical human modification. Along the way, they loosely follow the life, career, and afterlife of Tad Tadd, a reverend who popularizes a movement against changing corporeal forms and then, after a family tragedy, wholeheartedly embraces people’s right to modify their bodies as they choose. The book begins with semi-identical twins Julia and Evan, whose organs are not growing fast enough to keep either alive; when Julia goes into a vegetative state, doctors advise the twins’ parents to harvest Julia’s organs for Evan, and Tadd pays a visit to the family in the hospital, calling the boy “a life-devouring creature.” Another section follows a teen, significantly modified following a car accident, who hears Tadd’s message on the radio. As the stories move further into the future, Dayton (Seeker) explores how each generation slowly blurs the lines between human, machine, and animal. Part cautionary tale and part ode to the inventive human spirit, Dayton’s brilliant collection of stories is best described as a scientific Twilight Zone. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Dec.) [/em]