#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2022
My day three #bookvent pick is one which really made its mark, way back at the start of the year. Its one of just a handful of speculative fiction titles that I have read, but one which is so grounded in reality that you have to wonder if the author knows something that we don’t. Putting forward arguments for both the pros, and especially, the cons of genetic engineering and the whole idea of a ‘designer baby’, my third #bookvent selection is
Off Target by Eve Smith
An unthinkable decision
A deadly mistake
In an all-too-possible near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, not just crops, parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure that their babies are perfect … altering genes that may cause illness, and more…
Susan has been trying for a baby for years, and when an impulsive one-night stand her dream come true, she’ll do anything to keep her daughter and ensure her husband doesn’t find out … including the unthinkable. She believes her secret is safe. For now.
But as governments embark on a perilous genetic arms race and children around the globe start experiencing a host of distressing symptoms – even taking their own lives – something truly horrendous is unleashed. Because those children have only one thing in common, and people are starting to ask questions…
Bestselling author of The Waiting Rooms, Eve Smith returns with an authentic, startlingly thought-provoking, disturbing blockbuster of a thriller that provides a chilling glimpse of a future that’s just one modification away…
This book really makes you think. To be fair, Eve Smith has form for that, as her debut title, The Waiting Rooms, took readers to a world where bacteria had finally. Imagine a future where it is possible to genetically reprogrammed a child’s DNA before they are even born. Where hereditary diseases and conditions can be identified and eradicated from existence at with the use of some test tubes, Petri dishes and a few pipettes, along with a whole lot of scientific know how, of course. Whilst the genetic engineering, or ‘designer babies’ featured in ‘Off Target’ are very much a question of personal choice, there is something deemed very strange about anyone who chooses to take the ‘natural’ approach to conception, and the step that Susan takes to try and remove all evidence of a personal mistake, really do push the idea, and the ethical moral argument against this genetic experimentation to the very edge. A dual timeline story, Eve Smith slowly develops our understanding of the very real, and ever present threat, against her and her daughter, Zurel. She challenges us to ponder the cost of seeking perfection, the concept that a child who has a cerebral palsy, Downs Syndrome, or even just a big nose, freckles or the wrong coloured eyes, are somehow less than what parents with the right financial means really deserve.
Tense, intriguing, morally and ethically challenging, and perfectly paced, it is most definitely recommended.
You can read my full review right here.
Happy #bookvent reading all