cover image Sims


F. Paul Wilson. Cemetery Dance Publications, $35 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-58767-003-9

In a world in a time frame parallel to our own, the bioengineering firm SimGen, run by two brothers with a dirty secret, has created the biological equivalent of robots: simians who are genetically altered to become servile apes smarter and more capable than chimps but still subhuman. Sims work in jobs often deemed degrading by humans. They are leased out by SimGen and sent back to the company when they ""go D... defective, disabled, diseased or decrepit"" (rules reminiscent of US Robotics and Mechanical Men Corporation's policy on robots in Isaac Asimov's pioneering SF about robots (I, Robot, etc.). In this first novella of a proposed series, one group of sims has hired a lawyer, Patrick Sullivan, to defend their right to be a family. Sexually inactive, sims' only family comes from workmates, but as they are legally considered property their lessees can trade them at any time, just like slaves. Wilson's novella is all setup and promises. Just when the reader is fully clasped in the anticipatory grip of a good battle and the revelation of sinister deeds, the book ends. It's too early to tell how Wilson's new series will pan out, but if it fulfills the promise of its first installment, readers should be satisfied both emotionally and morally. (Sept.)