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Imago (Alan Rodgers Books) Hardcover – February 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Detailed descriptions of her many characters' internal thoughts weigh down Casil's debut novel (after 2001's story collection, Without Absolution), in which underdogs battle a corporate giant headed by a madman bent on "improving" the human race. There's no cure yet for human mutational virus, or HMV, which transforms people into half-animal viral "freaks" reminiscent of the beasts in Wells's The Island of Dr. Moreau or Cordwainer Smith's underpeople. DisLex chairman Harman Jacques, secretly infected with the virus and so evil even his grandmother despises him, creates the PerfectTown a computer-generated world inhabited by changing, growing people, constructs known as imagos as an attraction at the Magic Kingdom to model a cure. But Harman's reasons are anything but altruistic. In a eugenic experiment, he seeks to rebuild humans as imagos, but without what he considers errors or mistakes. His assistant, Julie Curtez, and her husband, Frank, discover that Harman has been running a death camp of HMV-infected freaks, drugging them and using them to help run secret unlicensed software. A crescendo of events leads to imagos of Julie and Frank working within the DisLex mainframe to discredit Harman, aided by an imago of Richard Nixon, in a dramatic good-versus-evil showdown that offers Nixon redemption. However, the plethora of points of view diffuses the emotional impact, while the origin of HMV remains inadequately explained. (Feb.)Forecast: Blurbs from such formidable names in the field as David Brin, James P. Blaylock and Mike Resnick should help, but it will take strong word of mouth to overcome the disadvantages of the high price and, possibly, of a publilsher known primarily as a reprint house..

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Series: Alan Rodgers Books
  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Borgo Press (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587153793
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587153792
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,656,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amy Sterling Casil is a 2002 Nebula Award nominee and recipient of other awards and recognition for her short science fiction and fantasy, which has appeared in publications ranging from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction to Zoetrope. She is the author of 26 nonfiction books, over a hundred short stories, two fiction and poetry collections, and three novels. Amy is the founder of Pacific Human Capital, a founding member and treasurer of Book View Café and former treasurer of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, and teaches writing and composition at Saddleback College. She is the founder of a new publishing company for the 21st century, Chameleon Publishing.

Chameleon Publishing Inc

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Randy Stafford VINE VOICE on January 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In the future of this 2002 work, the vast corporate giant DisLex, provider of entertainment and utilities and some government services, and its psychopathic CEO, Harman Jacques, not only round up victims of the Human Mutational Virus (HMV) and put them in de facto work camps but have also developed a vast, miniaturized simulacra of the world. In this PerfectTown, duplicated living and historical personages, the imagoes of the title, exist including Harman and his secret assistant, a little side project in complex personality simulation - one Richard M. Nixon, Harman's personal hero.

I feared, initially, that we were in the world of implausibly rationalized fable and another tired tract on the evils of the white man and his power structure. After all, HMV is a biologically improbable disease which renders most of its victims human-animal chimeras or, in rare cases, clown-like figures complete with huge noses. Also, Casil is not the most consistent in the prophylactic measures needed to prevent infections. These "freaks" are seemingly not only inspired by early fears of AIDS victims but are stand-ins for all kinds of social outsiders. And they are oppressed by white, powerful Harman. And Harman has a bizarre, creepy plan to infect his new assistant, Julie Curtez, with the disease. Her and hubsand Frank, who, as a district attorney, is trying to nail DisLex on drug trafficking charges, look suited to be our non-white heroes.

And the fantastic trappings aren't that new either. Communities simulated for nefarious ends go back to at least Frederik Pohl's "Tunnel Under the World" and Andrew D. Weiner's "The News from D Street". Simulacra of historical personalities go back to at least Philip K.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aeries on January 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It was an interesting concept, but a bit overwritten. There were sections that were filled with either exposition or abstract language, which ground the story's progression to a near standstill. Reading it on my Kindle, I couldn't believe that when the story arc seemed over, I still had about 25% of the book left to read.

The most interesting character (to me) was the antagonist, Harmon Jacques, but he was mostly faded out in favor of Richard Nixon in sequences which bordered on bizarre.

I can't say I enjoyed the book enough to justify suggesting it to anyone. I read it in a little over a day, but I was driven as much by just wanting to finish it as the slim hope that it would improve at some point.

Most of all, I was disappointed by the relative lack of depth portrayed for what seemed like an interesting concept in the form of the "Imagoes." In the end, it seemed like a fairly superficial title for a way that a dead character can interact with the living.
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Format: Hardcover
Imago by Amy Sterling Casil is a fascinating and incredible story set in a futuristic world, where Disney ("DisLex") not only provides entertainment but also provides most of the US's infrastructure and vital services like communications, power, and credit. This world has been infected by the Human Mutational Virus (HMV), which causes people to be disfigured and take on animal-like attributes. The infected "freaks" are feared and despised, with the uninfected running the country, lead by the CEO of DisLex, Harman Jacques. Harman is a complicated, damaged man who reviles, experiments upon, and segregates the infected; his fear is based upon the fact that he himself is secretly infected. Fascinated with imperfection, he creates a model "PerfectTown", populated with virtual constructs of real people, based upon personality, personal history, and memories; these virtual people are called "Imagoes" and assume lives of their own.

Into this crazy world stumbles innocent & naive Julie Curtez, newly appointed assistant for Harman. Julie fears the "freaks," but slowly comes to understand that not everything is as presented by DisLex. With the help of her district attorney husband Frank and Imago Tricky Dicky (Richard Nixon), she embarks on a journey to learn the truth.

This all sounds a bit too far-fetched and crazy, but it works, primarily because the characters are so well done. In particular, Richard Nixon is incredibly fascinating, realistic, and complicatedly human and it is a treat to get know him and all his contradictions. Imago gives him a chance to redeem himself, and this is perhaps the best part of the book, though the entire world with the "freak" sub-cultures is intriguing and well-done. I would like to read more about this world.
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Format: Hardcover

When I got this book to review, I was really excited by the premise of a virtual place called PerfectTown and a wealthy businessman who is trying to exploit the world. The first chapter started out interesting, with a family falsely earning the tickets to preview PerfectTown and things go horribly wrong. Unfortunately, the story veered away from this premise and went in another direction.

The characters of this book, Harman Jacques, Julie Curtez and her husband Frank, and those people referred to as freaks who have contracted a virus known as HMV which turns them into animal/people hybrids are all very one-dimensional and uninteresting. There is no background to give us insight into why Harman Jacques, the evil wealthy businessman, is the way he is. He is obsessed with Julie Curtez, to the point of secretly videotaping her for years. Why was he obsessed with her? That was not explained. She wasn't a particularly likeable character. Her husband, Frank, was the most interesting of all. He was the most developed and I found myself rooting for him.

The author didn't go into why the HMV came into existence and how it changes people into animal/human hybrids.

There are so many interesting ideas in this story that I wish the author would have brought out and developed more. A whole novel just on the workings of PerfectTown would be fasinating. Or the story about the HMV evolved and how it changes people and how society handles this new "breed" of human.

Although I didn't particularly like this book, I do look forward to reading some of the author's other works. She definitely has good ideas and I hope that I will be able to get more involved with some of her other characters.
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Imago (Alan Rodgers Books)
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