Review: Transhuman

Transhuman by Ben Bova
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a road-trip thriller about a researcher who treats his dying granddaughter with an experimental medical procedure against the wishes of her parents and the will of the federal government. The FBI, a hit man, and a super-secret military base are involved. As she gets better, he gets younger (he is using the inverse of her treatment on himself, as he is is 75 and needs a boost to manage on the run). Bova asks readers to believe that medical doctors and PhDs can speak and behave so stupidly, and that a young, beautiful medical professional would willingly start a romantic relationship with an old man with prostate cancer because he can suddenly get aroused (hello, male fantasy). If you love Clive Cussler and similar, maybe this is for you.

I always thought that Bova was a well-known and respected science fiction writer. (I have not read any of his other books.) Though most of the characters in this story are doctors or scientists, there is very little science. That was disappointing.

Speaking of the characters, holy stereotype! The capitalist is baldly unscrupulous and controlling, the mother is helpless and whiny, the father a violent bully, the granddaughter questions nothing and is chipper as a tv commercial, the Native American FBI guy is quiet and stoic, and everyone is described by their physical attractiveness quotient and ethnicity. It really was tiresome.

At the end, Luke makes a grand case about freedom for medical research to proceed unhindered and driven by the best interests of humanity rather than economic interests. That was nice.

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