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Spotlight on: Sims by F. Paul Wilson

F. Paul Wilson, Sims

I am a huge fan of the fiction of F. Paul Wilson. Ever since I read his first short story collection, Soft and Others, and his first Adversary Cycle novel, The Keep, back in the 1980s, I've kept my eye out for every Wilson novel since. I especially enjoy the Repairman Jack series.

So when I saw that Wilson was releasing a set of novellas called Sims through Cemetery Dance Publications, I panicked because, being limited editions, each one was $35, and I knew I couldn't possibly afford to get them all. Imagine my relief when I noticed that Forge Books had combined them into a single volume.

First of all, Sims bears no relation to the popular computer game, The Sims. It is a science thriller about gene splicing. Scientists, armed with the information that humans and chimps share 98.4% of their DNA, have hybridized the two into a new species, the sim. These sims are used primarily as servants, and are entirely owned by and leased from SimGen, a conglomerate owned by the two Sinclair brothers -- Mercer and Ellis.

One day, a sim asks lawyer Patrick Sullivan to represent a number of sims in a suit to unionize all sims. When he accepts, all hell breaks loose and a number of questions arise: Who knew sims could think that way? And does that make them more human than monkey? And what does that mean to SimGen?

Author F. Paul Wilson raises these questions and others while keeping the story moving at a brisk pace. He is at his best in this type of thriller. In addition, there are lots of interesting characters along for the ride, not least of whom is the mysterious Zero who is leading the fight against SimGen. But why? And who is behind Zero, financing his ventures? All these questions are answered in the end. Sims is a wild ride from one of the great modern authors, showing us he is still at the peak of his game. I can't wait for the next F. Paul Wilson thriller.

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