Saturday, April 17, 2010

Act One, by Nancy Kress

The read of the day is Act One, by Nancy Kress. The protagonist is a dwarf, a man with achondroplasia. He manages a mature actress on a comeback. They are planning a movie about children genetically modified to be empathetic. Things get difficult when The Group, the power behind the modifications, decides that mods from birth aren't sufficient, and goes about infecting "normals" with some version of it via retrovirus.

The story explores themes of disability and people's reactions to it in somewhat standard but richly explored ways. Nancy Kress really knows how to write and construct a character, and this story shows her craftsmanship at its best. This plotline is also explored in David Brin's The Giving Plague, with a different setting but the flavor of the story is actually very close. Go out and read it.

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