A guy named Donovan’s brain is kept alive in a jar post-mortem, where it develops the ability to control the minds of others. Basically, it’s 160 pages of hot brain-on-brain action. It would’ve been really easy to overthink the title of this book and default to something less direct. Like Dark Side Of The Mind. Or Lobe Story. Or Hungry, Hungry Hippocampus. But in the end, the best name for a book about a guy named Donovan’s brain is Donovan’s Brain. I recommend you read Donovan’s Brain.

On a scale of famous manipulative brains ranging from Krang to Brainiac, this book is: the Big Brain.

What are we going to do tonight, brain?

 

At first, this book was irritating. Gibson seemed to be trying just a little too hard to remind the reader that it was set in the not-too distant future. Like, he abbreviates the word ‘claustrophobic’ to ‘claustro’ and passes it off as not-too-distant-future language; this is the linguistic equivilant of a one-piece silver jumpsuit. Even the font seemed obnoxious: Futura. Using Futura in a book about the future breaks an ironclad rule of design: never print a book in a font named after the subject matter (I have yet to receive any interest in my biography of insane Bavarian type cutter Zapf Dingbat). But, by the end, I had to admit it had grown on me: (to the tune of the ‘By Mennen’ jingle) ‘Bill GIB-son!’

On a scale of cocktails ranging from the Rob Roy to the Pink lady, this book is a: Gibson.

Did you get those font jokes or am I wasting my time here?

A strange virus causes women to begin birthing the next stage in human evolution, threatening to make homo sapiens extinct. Now we know how all those monkeys felt when we grew opposable thumbs! This book is what’s commonly known as ‘hard’ scifi; as in ‘hard’ to read, ‘hard’ to follow and ‘hard’ly worth my time. The story, while compelling, is riddled with scientific terminology far beyond a lummox like me (‘Duuuhhh…..what’s a ‘beaker’…?). But if you’re a PhD – holding endemic virologist looking for a little light reading between cataloguing RNA sequences, give it a whirl. Preferably in your haemacrotic centrifuge.

On a scale of viruses ranging from cytoplasmic ployhedrosis to acute laryngotracheobronchitis, this book is: duck hepatitis B.

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