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Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite
As a revolutionary biologist dabbling with CRISPR, Dr. Howard Wake’s life is extraordinary. He is perpetually on the run from the Federal Institute for Biomedical Research, which would love to put him in prison or worse. His genetically modified eight-year-old twins are adept at performing experiments. His lab can be packed within hours on the back of his RV, which he uses for shuttling between his hideouts. However, it seems that the continuously active CRISPR machine incorporated into his children’s genome is about to take an enormous leap. At the same time, someone from Howard’s past finally catches up with him, and he has a lot to answer for. To find out what happens next, read CRISPR Evolution by Charis Jones.
This thoroughly engaging work of speculative fiction rejuvenated my love for science fiction. Set in the near future, it has a dystopian theme. FIBR closely monitors most of the ongoing biological research projects. The independently working scientists must flee underground, keeping themselves off FIBR’s radar. The beauty of the storyline is that, although imaginary, this scenario never seems far-fetched. Based on the issues the research community faces today, such a future seems all too plausible. Charis Jones shows how a combination of funding crunches, government intervention, and misinterpretation of results by the media could ultimately hinder scientific progress. At the same time, this thought-provoking story raises questions about the interplay of science and ethics. The characters are spellbinding, each shining in their own light and demanding center stage. As a brilliant and dedicated rogue scientist with a questionable sense of ethics, Dr. Howard Wake changed my outlook on a hero.
While hardcore scientific facts form the book's foundation, Jones’ literary tweaks help it soar to unprecedented heights. I especially loved the visuals of a cell, with chromosome rafts and glittering hubs of gene transcription, the busy proteins, and enzymes having distinct personalities. In CRISPR Evolution, Jones recounts the beauty of life and imagines the unleashing of one’s full potential. I recommend it to those who appreciate science fiction. This story would be perfect for the fans of Michael Crichton’s Next.