Short Take: “Black Site,” Michael Patrick Hicks

Rating: 4 out of 5

Michael Patrick Hicks brings us the bio-horror tale, Black Site. It’s a blend of science fiction and horror that takes place on an abandoned mining colony, in a lab. All of the characters were vat-grown from manipulated DNA taken from “Papa.” Alpha is the oldest, the most similar to Papa, and seemingly the leader. He’s worried about the latest clone, Victor. The whole point of the project is to work backwards through human DNA to find the original progenitor to all life on Earth. Whenever Alpha is near Victor, his head hurts, and Victor doesn’t look all that human. Soon he decides that it would be a very good idea to terminate Victor’s life.

I was a little unhappy with how the only female character–Echo–was treated. As the only female naturally she’s sleeping with our main character Alpha, and she has the usual soft-heartedness. However, I do like the fact that there’s an aspect of, ugh, these two are basically clones of the same person (just with a few tweaks) and yet they’re having sex. It’s one of those random things you have to wonder about when dealing with genetic experimentation.

While I love what eventually turns out to be going on, and why, it comes a little too easily. Alpha comes up with a fairly complex explanation of what Victor is with very little information to work with at first, which was just kind of, “huh?”

Luckily the setting and the plot and the events that happen are all really interesting. I’m glad I read this book.

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