cover image Extreme Makeover

Extreme Makeover

Dan Wells. Tor, $15.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8562-8

Wells (the John Wayne Cleaver series) spares no aspect of American society’s darkest corners or obsessions in this enjoyable satire, and those who fear heavy-handedness will be glad that it reads more like a humorous thriller than a diatribe. Lyle Fontanelle, a chemist working for the cosmetic company NewYew, creates products he hopes will make people feel better about themselves. But worldwide chaos ensues after he creates a hand lotion called ReBirth that morphs its user into anyone whose DNA the lotion has bonded with. Ordinary people look like celebrities, infiltrators impersonate members of governments, and thousands of people accidentally turn into copies of Lyle. ReBirth might even convey immortality. But it’s more insidious than it seems, and every chapter starts with the countdown to the end of the world. The best and worst of humanity—sometimes embodied in the same person—are at the forefront of the sometimes breathless, often twisting story of a world spiraling out of control because too many people couldn’t be happy with who they were. Reminiscent of Vonnegut at his most subtly biting, Wells’s novel should find favor with speculative and mainstream readers alike. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Nov.)