cover image Achilles' Choice

Achilles' Choice

Larry Niven. Tor Books, $0 (214pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85099-9

The world of 2048 is ruled by a council of computer-enhanced, ``linked'' people, with new members chosen every four years through a competitive mental, physical and aesthetical Olympics. In training, contender Jillian Shomer debates whether to use a ``boost'' to enhance her chances. Nobody who has not boosted can prevail over anyone who has, at least in the physical contests, but those who use the boost and do not win will die within 10 years--only the link can counteract its effects and only a council member can be linked. Seeking to learn why the council would so allow the destruction of the majority of the world's finest youths, Jillian discovers unsavory aspects to her utopia. Then someone, or something, catches her spying. Niven and Barnes's ( The Descent of Anansi ) romance-like light fiction, with its predictable plot, loosely drawn characters and no more than a promise of a resolution, is, nevertheless, fun to read. (Mar.)