Big Egos

S.G. Browne. S&S/Gallery, $16 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-4767-1167-6
Seductively pleasurable virtual identity-shifting morphs into a nightmare reality in this near-future SF standalone. In a technology-obsessed 2021, both wealthy dilettantes and avid black-market customers can temporarily acquire identities of dead and fictional people through a replicated DNA brew, allowing Browne (Breathers) to juxtapose pairs of unlikely personas for dark comic effect. Browne’s unnamed protagonist works in the investigations department of Los Angeles-based EGOS, the bioengineering firm responsible for developing this recreational drug, and he tests newly developed alternate personalities—as many as he likes. Browne shifts between his narrator’s present, where he attends EGOS parties as Elvis or James Bond, and the man’s unpleasant childhood with a cruel father and an ineffectual mother. As people begin to succumb to EGOS’s fraudulent euphoria, Browne’s narrator loses not only his friends but more and more of his own identity. This is a sobering parable of people who don’t want to be themselves in a society that eschews self-examination for critical appraisal of others. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/24/2013
Release date: 08/06/2013
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4767-1177-5
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