The Death Gene

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Malcolm Rose
Simon and Schuster
Jun 2006
��all these amazing twists of fate couldn�t happen purely by chance. They were firm evidence of a God who was orchestrating everything. And that would convince them that the were carrying out His will. Karl believed more in bad luck than in God.�

The advancement of the sciences and of technology form the backdrop to Malcolm Rose�s novels. �The Death Gene�, his latest, looks at the frighteningly real possibility of synthesising life, the profound impacts this might cause and the types of usage and abusage for which such knowledge might be appropriated.

The work of biologist Eve Perry provides a grim insight into the way scientific development is able to be used to wield power by extremists� whether political, military, religious or environmental in intent. The novel is split into two parts, the first sees Karl Stephenson and Finn Pallister entrusted with knowledge about bacterial synthesis, sees an outbreak of a new super-bug illness and the quest for its cure through utilising the bacteria�s �death gene� a specially developed �self-destruct� unit. The concluding part of the is novel an-against-the-clock race as an extremist scientist endeavours to destroy the �death gene� thereby unleashing a deadly virus against humanity, a new, unseen weaponry.

"The Death Gene" is admirably wide in scope, it makes accessible the Nietzschean idea that 'God is dead', exploring the implications thereof to modern religion, to morality and the study of science and the need for an intrinsic set of ethics as part of that. The novel packs an uncompromising, and for many of its characters, an unforgiving emotional punch and is a potent reminder that scientific intelligence can only be utilised responsively by those with emotional intelligence...

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