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Sims    by F. Paul Wilson order for
by F. Paul Wilson
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

It's the very near future and scientists have made great strides in genetics research. Many diseases have been eradicated and a huge conglomerate called SimGen has patented 'sims', chimps that have been enhanced with human DNA and have a capacity for both speech and limited understanding. Sims are leased out in large numbers to do the menial or unsavory work formerly done by humans. They're also being leased to medical research facilities where their non-classified status as neither animal or human make them the ideal 'lab rat'.

For certain radical and religious groups, sims pose an ethical dilemma. They believe their very existence is either cruel or against the laws of God and man. Enter lawyer Patrick Sullivan who's never given the sims much thought -- he's too busy trying to make partner at his law firm, or working to ingratiate himself into the good graces of the head of his posh country club. When Sullivan is snubbed yet again it puts him in the mood for a fight. What better way than to represent the Beacon Ridge sims, who hire Patrick to help them form a union.

Activist Romy Cadman and a shadowy accomplice known to her only as 'Zero', are working towards getting sims reclassified as persons, not property. They're also trying to prove that something sinister is going on behind the fortress-like walls of SimGen. Once conglomerate executives realize their house of cards could come tumbling down, they call in their top gun. SimGen's security head, Luca Portero, is ordered to 'take care of the problem'. But things within SimGen are spiraling out of control faster than Luca and his team anticipated, thanks to a mole within the company.

Wilson presents a hypothetical scenario that is both fascinating and thought provoking. He's taken a topic that's regularly making headlines and given it his own particular spin. His greedy conglomerate bad guys and special forces thugs aren't new; it's Wilson's great writing and strong characterizations (particularly the sims) that rocket this story forward and make Sims a riveting and a timely read.

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