cover image The Edge of Human

The Edge of Human

K. W. Jeter. Bantam, $21.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-09979-9

Jeter's recent spate of tie-in novels (a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel, etc.)--his primary production since Wolf Flow (1992)--likely has reached its apex with this book, which notably is not a sequel to the late Philip K. Dick's classic Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? but to the hit film based on it, Blade Runner. That movie, set in an apocalyptically dismal L.A. of the near future, became a cult classic, especially after the release of the director's cut, which raised ambiguities scarcely hinted at in the original version. Jeter trades on these uncertainties as the replicant-hunter Deckard returns from Northern California to search for an alleged sixth replicant. Several characters from the movie make appearances here, including a few believed to be dead. Most significant is Roy Batty, who claims to be the human upon whom one of the replicants was based; in his own search for the sixth replicant, Batty teams up with a medically enhanced Dave Holden, Deckard's former partner, who is at various times convinced that virtually everyone in the novel is a replicant. Like Dick, Jeter has a gift for limning believable conspiracies wherever a character turns. Featuring numerous questions of identity and twists of plot, as well as masterful depictions of a decaying L.A. reminiscent of Jeter's Madlands, this novel should fascinate even readers new to the Blade Runner universe. (Oct.)