By: Angie Haddock
At first, Logan Ramsay isn’t sure if anything’s different.
The truth is, Logan’s genome has been hacked. And there’s a reason he’s been targeted for this upgrade. A reason that goes back decades to the darkest part of his past, and a horrific family legacy.
Ready for some sci-fi action?
I know nothing about DNA and genetic hacking beyond the basics we all learned watching the first “Jurassic Park” movie (shout out to Jeff Goldblum, just because). But this one was still a fun ride, and I think the author explains it just enough to keep you following the story.
The story takes place in the mid twenty-first century, so only a few decades from now. Logan’s mother used to be a leading geneticist, and she used her knowledge to try to stop a crop failure in China… but it all went awry, and billions died. Since then, genetic modifications have been outlawed. Logan Ramsay, our main character, works for the GPA – Gene Protection Agency – which watches out for any potential genetic work being done “under the radar.”
Needless to say, there are definitely still scientists working on genetic modifications. And there are still consumers interested in buying their work for various reasons.
What Logan doesn’t anticipate is that his own mother, who supposedly died years ago, is still alive and still working on an intense set of modifications… to humans. After he is unwittingly modified, he finds out that his older sister was also given this same “upgrade.” They find their mother’s suicide note (video, in this case), and learn that she wants to enhance humanity’s intelligence so that humans have a shot at stopping climate change before it’s too late.
His sister, Kara, sides with their mother. Logan does not. Seeing as they are both enhanced – both mentally and physically – this sets the scene for some hard-fought battles.
In addition to all the action, there are various ethical questions at play. There is the obvious one of free will, and people being modified who didn’t necessarily want to. But also, the modifications don’t work on some people, and instead they become ill. So, how many people’s deaths are an acceptable amount of “collateral damage?” And do humans really need more intelligence, or do they need more empathy?
Find the answers for yourself, as “Upgrade” hits shelves today, July 12th. I was able to read an advanced copy through NetGalley.