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Altman, co-creator of the theme anthology The Touch, a well-received charity venture that allowed contributors to riff on the imaginary Sensory Deprivation Syndrome (communicated through skin contact with a "Depriver"), has taken SDS and built a two-part novel around it, but its effects pale beside similar comic-book antihero fare such as the popular X-Men films or The X-Files. In part one, Cassandra, Queen of the Depriver underground, recruits Robert Luxley, a Depriver assassin whose touch causes 15 minutes of paralysis, to help retrieve her brother Nicholas from the clutches of the ambiguously evil Mr. Deveraux. With the help of Sparrow, a mystically inclined Lakota Indian, Robert learns how to recognize other Deprivers by their auras. Unfortunately, the action quickly bogs down as various characters discuss ethical options instead of wholeheartedly battling the factions that would use SDS for their own nefarious ends. In part two, Alex Crowley, a normal man who loved his Depriver wife and now wants revenge for her murder, turns to Sparrow's Indian mentor for help. The better parts of the novel focus on Alex's vision quest. After he becomes a secret agent, he has to fight his conscience more than he fights the bad guys. This book succeeds neither in creating archetypal comic-book antiheroes nor in humanizing the characters enough to give them three-dimensional depths.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Altman's paranoid thriller plays on the same fear of the unknown that countless others have exploited over the years. The "deprivers," victims of Sensory Deprivation Syndrome, have the capability of depriving others of a variety of things, and they cause everything from blindness to deafness to paralysis. Robert Luxley has forged a career as an assassin out of his ability to paralyze, and then he discovers other deprivers. After they and their capabilities becomes common knowledge, there is an outcry for their mandatory registration and limiting their rights because they are dangers to society. The story follows first Luxley's and then groups of deprivers' struggles for understanding and equality, turning later to agent Crowley of the Ministry, a top-secret organization that has a reactionary attitude toward deprivers. Crowley, married to a depriver but not one himself, tries to temper the damage deprivers do. In the end, a not-entirely-surprising potential solution of the depriver problem is achieved, and several ends are left tantalizingly loose. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Its funny that another reviewer said this was "X-men meets the fugitive." Before I started to write this I was thinking of what this book reminded me of and all I could think of... Read morePublished on May 15, 2005 by clifford
I loved this book. This idea is excellent--the syndrome created by the author is seems like it could be for real. The premise is scary and the characters are excellent. Read morePublished on February 2, 2004
Steven-Elliot Altman's Deprivers is as frightening as the Hot Zone and reminiscent of the Aids scare of the 80's. Read morePublished on December 15, 2003 by R. Andrew Heidel