cover image The God Wave

The God Wave

Patrick Hemstreet. Harper Voyager, $24.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-241950-7

In a strong debut reminiscent of Ben Bova’s classic work, Hemstreet crafts a tense tale of cutting-edge SF in which an ambitious experiment leads to unexpected results. Neuroscientist Chuck Brenton and mathematician Matt Streegman, both at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, join forces in a project designed to allow people to control machinery with their minds. Collaborating with other specialists and test subjects, they form a company and plunge headlong into their research, which yields astounding results: with enough practice, people can master the so-called zeta brain wave to interface with technology without a physical connection at all. Chuck wants to dedicate the company to humanitarian goals, but Matt sees profit, quickly securing an exclusive contract with a shadowy U.S. government agency called Deep Shield. When Chuck learns Deep Shield’s true purpose, he and his friends are forced into a desperate struggle for freedom. This works well as a techno-thriller with a plausible premise, and Hemstreet imbues his sprawling cast with depth and character. However, it suffers from a plodding predictability—the ideological split between Chuck and Matt and the conflict with Deep Shield are overplayed tropes yielding few surprises. Agent: Emma Parry, Janklow and Nesbit. (May)