Distance Haze

Jamil Nasir, Author Spectra Books $5.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-553-57995-6
Truth proves stranger than fiction at southwestern Michigan's Deriwelle Institute for the Technological Study of Religion, host to highly paid scientists who are building a computer model of the soul. Suffering from writer's block and on the verge of a midlife crisis, 43-year-old science fiction writer Wayne Dolan agrees to his editor's request to boost lagging sales by writing a nonfiction piece about the institute, which has been built on sacred burial grounds. He soon teeters between insanity and enlightenment: the eccentricities around him filter into his own life; vivid dreams of an Indian shaman lead him to deposit thousands of dollars into a mysterious bank account; and he falls for a crippled, dope-addicted prostitute who says her Nobel laureate father made her the guinea pig for a vaccine that eradicates what makes humans religious. In this captivating near-future novel, Nasir (Tower of Dreams) expertly blurs the already vague distinction between Wayne's reality and fantasy. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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