by Susan Squires

August 2002
ISBN: 0-8439-5036-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Leisure Books
Mass Market Paperback

‘WOW’ is the first word that came to mind after reading Ms. Squires latest book, Body Electric! I became a fan after reading her book Danegeld, and then Sacrament. She has proven that she has the unique talent of writing in any genre and making it come alive --- thus undoubtedly, acquiring new reader fans, and fast becoming a name that is on the ‘favorite, auto-buy’ lists!

Body Electric is unlike any book this reader has read. Not being a fan of the Sci-Fi genre, I was more than a little curious when I read the blurb on this book. Ms. Squires took a very unusual idea and turned it into a plot to rival most others. What would you do if you were a incredibly-brilliant, ‘lost soul’, driven-to-prove-yourself, young woman who had the exceptional abilities to hack into any computer -- anywhere?

Victoria Barnhardt has spent her life feeling ‘less’ than worthy in the eyes of her parents, carelessly living life as far ‘on-the-edge’ as she possibly could, and not caring to think where her actions were taking her. When billionaire Bob McIntire, owner of the computer giant Visimorph bails her out of jail he hires her to create a computer program that will stop hackers --- like herself --- from ever breaking into the systems.

At night, Vic works on a secret project of her own --- an Artificial Intelligence (AI) she is creating to be everything she feels she isn’t: independently strong and without the emotional handicaps that control her own life. She succeeds beyond her own imaginings when she creates ‘Jodie’.

Vic thinks Jodie is the perfect ‘female’--- free from all the ‘torment, and emotional baggage’ she herself carries around, but soon discovers that Jodie has decided it’s a ‘male’ instead. And even more mystifying is that Jodie’s intelligence is quickly increasing beyond expectations, curious and full of unexpected emotions. Soon the situation spirals out of control. Jodie laments the fact that he’s different from Vic, and decides he wants a body!

When Bob McIntire discovers Vic’s amazing accomplishment he’s determined to claim it as the ‘product of the millennium’. Victoria knows the only thing to do is get Jodie out of Visimorph’s computer systems and into a body.

This is a story full of fascinating science, gripping suspense, thought-provoking questions, and powerful emotions. It’s a story of change. Victoria and Jodie both learn that transformation is a part of life and that love can transcend all ideas, prejudices, fears and insecurities, and --- even the ‘crossing the line’ feat between human and machine. Readers will not forget this book for a long, long time! A definite recommend; don’t miss it!

Reviewed in August 2002 by Kari.

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