Edward M. Lerner
Tor, Oct 13 2009, $25.95
At Garner Nanotechnology, Brent Cleary demonstrates a new nanosuit that will save the lives of cops or soldiers. Upon impact from a bullet, the suit tightens and stiffens to keep the projectile out; if it should penetrate and injure the wearer, nanites are secreted that clot the wound.
The demos are successful as Brent rides along with the police. That is until a gasoline pipeline explodes killing hundreds and imbedding Brent into a brick wall. Brent survives, but his friends and workers believe he has changed though he, CEO Daniel Garner, and the medical research team in charge of the experiment insist he is back to normal with nanites removed from his system. However, Kim at Garner notices his ability to absorb information at a level geometrically greater than before the accident and his rate of absorption is growing even more rapidly daily. She begs him to undergo more intensive tests, but Brent refuses even as he begins to lose control of his mental faculties while the firm keeps on testing others while hiding the results from federal and state inspectors.
This is an exciting modern day Frankenstein as Edward M. Lerner makes a case for better scientific ethics with stronger government oversight instead of rotating back and forth doors, which means no true review. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the explosion occurs and never slows down, but the tale is totally driven by Brent, Daniel, and Kim; each is obsessive in different ways. Although in some ways similar to Robocop (in terms of the critical conversion incident) mixed with Phenomenon, SMALL MIRACLES is a refreshing cautionary science fiction thriller.