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Comments for Chromosome 6

Chromosome 6Chromosome 6: 06/24/07

In 1896, H. G. Wells published The Island of Doctor Moreau in response to the debates over animal vivisection. A hundred and one years later, Robin Cook, updated the basic plot in Chromosome 6 to reflect recent progress in DNA research but didn't manage to bring any new insights to table.

Chromosome 6 is one of the worst books by Cook I've ever read (and perhaps one of the worst full-stop). The winner for worst book by Cook still goes t Coma which is both misogynistic and poorly written; Chromosome 6 is only poorly written. The basic premise is the same as The Island of Doctor Moreau; on a distant island (this time in the Congo), scientists have grafted together humans and animals to create animals with human characteristics. This time, the animals in question are bonobos and the reason behind the monkey business is the creation of cloned body parts for use by wealthy patrons who need transplants and don't want to wait in line for a donor. Unfortunately, the bonobos are so close to being human already that a few swapped genes here and there and they develop human tendencies (discovering fire and tool use).

Anyone who has suffered through those horrible chimp films from the 1970s knows that chimps can be taught to use matches and already (oh shock!) have opposable thumbs and basic tool use. So altered chromosomes or not, the bonobos can already chase one down with a hammer if they wanted to.

If Cook's underestimation of bonobos isn't enough, he tries to make the mystery more interesting by adding in a mob connection. Yes, it's not just mad scientists in Africa making man-apes, they're being hired by the mob! So of course, the New York cop has to hop a plane and fly halfway across the world to break into the compound to solve the case. Add to the mix flat dialogue and stupid doctors who have to ask what's going on for Cook to "info-dump" and Chromosome 6 ends up being 400 pages of wasted time.

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Comment #1: Sunday, July, 1, 2007 at 19:00:21

twiga

"Ah, it's been a long time since I read this one. I do like the characters Jack and Laurie in this book that he periodically has in various books. Sorry you didn't like it. Hopefully the others will be better. I think Marker was pretty good. :-)"