Rated Reads

Invasive Procedures

by Orson Scott Card

Rated: Mild

By Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston’s collaboration Invasive Procedures is a riveting thriller that won’t allow itself to be put down. It’s completely absorbing and disturbing in its implications without being unnecessarily gory or graphic.

A deadly virus has just been found in a secret gene-therapy lab by the investigators of the government’s secret Biohazard Agency, and they need a countervirus yesterday. The V16 retroviral factor has terrifying possibilities. For most people, contact with V16 melts off skin and kills within minutes. But some have had their genetic diseases cured by it.

For V16 hasn’t just originated from some “jungle of Africa” — it’s been created. It’s all being directed by George Galen, a brilliant pioneer in gene sequencing — who also happens to have decided it’s time for the human race to evolve, and he is just the man to start the process.

Lt. Col. Frank Hartman is the only man who can stop Galen. After six months of research, he has created what might very well be an effective countervirus — although he hasn’t been able to test it on humans yet — and he must find Galen before the virus is unleashed on any more innocent victims.

Card and Johnston’s collaboration in creating this novel, which grew out of a screenplay loosely based on a short story by Card, is seamless and scarily convincing. The successful sequencing of the human genome a few years ago opened up all kinds of possibilities for future use of the genome, but simultaneously opened up a whole can of ethical worms.

Invasive Procedures weaves some of those worms and possibilities into a believable story that is guaranteed to take the reader on a breakneck ride until the very end.

Rated: Mild, for just a few occurrences of mild language and some mildly disturbing violence

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • Invasive Procedures
  • by Orson Scott Card
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: