- Series: Alan Rodgers Books
- Hardcover: 312 pages
- Publisher: Borgo Press (February 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: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,516,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Imago (Alan Rodgers Books) Hardcover – February, 2002
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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.
Top customer reviews
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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.
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.
All in all, Imago by Amy Sterling Casil is a unique story, completely different from anything which I have ever read before. Initially, I found it difficult to understand the setting, because Ms Casil plunges you directly into the world without explanation, and it is so completely foreign and strange, almost cartoonish (being Disney-based). However, I am glad I persevered through the first chapter, because it is a fascinating and incredible setting which quickly made perfect sense and raised thought-provoking questions about honor, redemption, prejudice, and life. Well worth reading.
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.