You CF lifers will know Francis Poretto as a long-time friend of this site, a highly-skilled fellow blogger in his own right, and a damned excellent sci-fi novelist as well. He’s been serving of late as a sort of part-time spiritual mentor for me as well, for which indulgence I am very grateful to him.
You might also recollect my recommending his powerful Spooner trilogy a while back in this space, which endorsement resulted in Francis’s selling more copies of the books in a week than he usually did in a month. Both Francis and I were thrilled with that, as you might imagine.
So with all that in mind, allow me to commend your attention to Fran’s latest: Innocents. In his own words:
A novel of the Onteora Canon, set in the very near future. Genetic engineering and zygotic microsurgery have produced both wonders and horrors. Wonders such as drugs tailored to attack a specific disease in a specific sufferer, or surgery to eliminate genetically borne handicaps before mitosis can begin. Horrors such as blindness or deafness deliberately inflicted upon unborn babies, or pitiable creatures whose bodies and minds are warped to satisfy the whims of wealthy perverts.
Security specialist Larry Sokoloff is on vacation far from home, straining to forget a woman he loves but cannot have, when Fountain, a teenaged escapee from a malevolent institution, comes under his protection. What he learns of her nature and origins lays bare the darker face of the Janus of biotechnology, and catapults him and his colleague Trish McAvoy into a mission of vengeance and cleansing. For adults only.
Francis was kind enough to gift me with a complimentary copy, which I’ll be plowing into this weekend—and expect to be unable to claw myself away from until I’ve read it all, if he’s true to his usual form with this one. A bit more, from one of our e-mail exchanges:
Now that Innocents is out, it’s time for me to decide what to tackle next. It was the most difficult of all my novels to finish, even though it’s the shortest. Writing it very nearly put me off fiction altogether. Yet a few early readers have already inquired about a sequel. There are days I wonder about this business…quite a lot of them, lately.
Yeah, well, don’t spend a whole lot of time wondering, my friend. You got plenty to say; a precious God-given gift for saying it; a distinctive, near-unique perspective and literary style; and a growing audience eager to hear more from you. Take a short breather, and then it’s back to the salt mines for you, buddy.
As for the rest of y’all, go buy the book. If you have any liking for sci-fi at all—and how could you not?—I guarantee that you’ll be glad you did. Hey, at $2.99, how can you go wrong?