Proteus Rising is a Powerful Tale
In Peter Dingus' new book, it's the 24th Century and humanity has been on Mars long enough that Martian inhabitants can be distinguished at a glance from Terran visitors and newcomers.
The Department of Reproductive Affairs has done much to enhance these changes-The accelerated adaptations allow the inhabitants adjust to the lower gravity and increased radiation of their new environment. But George Mills, physicist, has far outstepped this modest mandate.
George has manipulated the gene pool to the point where his clientele, the children listed in the Proteus file, have such an accelerated adaptive physiology that they are a new species. His ambition is to make mankind so attuned to each other that collaboration is natural and contention unthinkable. George's goal; the new species will be so intellectually advanced that wars would be obsolete.
For these noble efforts, the goons from Terra will order George to cease his activities immediately. As to why the Terrans in Proteus Rising were so adverse to the children puzzled me. It puzzled me almost as much as why the Terrans and Martians teetered on the brink of war, but then I considered ignorance, power and self-interest will most likely be in no danger of becoming separated from each other, even in the advanced civilization of the 24th century. The author has done a good job keeping up the pace in this book. The gee whiz factor is there, as is the action, even to the last page of this 468 page tale.
In the end, I found myself wondering: What will become of the Proteus children? Or conversely, "Will the rift between Martians and Terrans ever be resolved? -Perhaps.
Proteus Rising being such a big story, I must warn the fastidious reader that the version I read could use a closer copy edit. For instance--
What exactly is the Sea of Storms? This conveyance never did seem to be fully visualized for me.
George's explaination of his AI protégé Will's intelligence struck me as obscure--His AI was based on a highly complex formula involving "complex conformal maps whose components are fractal functions... (transposing)...arbitrary states to physical geometries." Obscure to me, but then I'm not a physicist.
While my review has focused on George, his ambitions and battles, there are other characters in the book who keep George grounded, notably Joanne Zhu, a fellow researcher and close friend as well as the aforementioned computer, Will.
I would say more, but surprise is half the pleasure of reading and I don't want to give away too much of this compelling story.
Ted Magnuson, author of Moses Probe