Nick Carlyle understands the intricacies of his job better than anyone. He lives to crunch those numbers and his skills are valued throughout the company. If his personal life might be lacking, he doesn't notice, especially whenever he steals a harmless glance or two at Riley Jameson's tight body.
When a universal flu shot is developed, it's hailed as a
miracle, and rightly so. But the seemingly harmless side-effects begin
to change the world, warping the statistics that Nick's always used to
guide him through life.
No one changes as much as Riley. Suddenly
the young man is bigger, stronger. He's also aggressive in ways Nick
isn't prepared for, and for the first time analyzing the numbers does
nothing to help the situation.
And if numbers can't help him, what can?
Comment: This is one of those books that also caught my eye because of the cover. I love these types of cover, really gorgeous art.
This isn't the first book I've read by the author, and despite having enjoyed the first, I didn't have many expectations about this one.
This short story - it's really not that big - talks about the possibility of one day existing a vaccine to stop the flu, like we nowadays have vaccines against measles or small pox, for instance. The vaccine has secondary effects, of course. For some people it also helps muscle growth, which means some people get bigger in size and stronger. For a small percentage of the population, however, the body size can decrease and people get smaller. But it's a risk many are willing to take so they can change the way they see themselves and how others will see them too.
Nick is in charge of one particular team in a huge company. He's not eager to have the vaccine but when his co workers all have one, and Riley in particular has it and grows several inches and starts looking him down, he fears his position in the company might be jeopardized because people react to confidence and size. So he decides to have the vaccine and after that, everything changes.
I think the concept of this story wasn't that bad. I'm pretty sure it's not as out there as so many others, especially considering the advances in science every day. It's still weird, but I wasn't put off by this and it did allow for some interesting thoughts, such as how would people want to modify themselves just to please others or what they should be like and how this would push people into thinking they had to belong to a certain group...it's all rather interesting, sociologically speaking. A great idea for a science fiction story.
In terms of characters, I got the dichotomy here. How the changes in the protagonists shaped the things that happened afterwards and how by taking the vaccine, the way they saw each other and others changed too. Nick was very by the rules and at first he didn't seem worried, but with time he started having doubts like I'm sure many would too, ad this prompted him to have the vaccine. I think the biggest lesson he had was how no matter people change their bodies, it's the inside that matters and if someone has confidence in themselves, they can charm others around them. Of course, things weren't this simple, but in the short amount of pages it took to tell this story, most concerns were addressed. The story it told by Nick's perspective, so we don't really have the others' thoughts unless when someone talks about it, and I think I could have used a second point of view in this, but overall, it's was fine.
It was a pity the story was so short, because the subject was interesting and with more time it could be more meaningful, especially for the main couple and how these changes had an impact on them. The way things are, I think everything was a bit superficial, and it had many interesting points to develop more if the author wanted.
All in all, it wasn't the best story ever, but I liked the idea, I liked some of the consequences addressed but wish there could have been more to develop.