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Anne Hatley is a sharp-witted and acerbic young teacher in need of a reprieve from the drudgery of work and a tedious relationship. She accepts an invitation to the nation’s largest research colony, where DNA pioneer James D. Watson hopes to “cure” Anne of a rare gene that affects her bone growth: She is missing a leg, and walks with a prosthesis. Though getting along fine, she’s being pressured to pioneer an experimental procedure, and be the first patient to generate a new limb. As Anne falls into a reluctant romance with a fellow colonist—the rakish possessor of the “suicide gene”—and consults a resurrected Charles Darwin and a dugong-bred mermaid, Anne must first come to terms with who she is, before she ever dares to decide who she can become.
“Part Wellsian dystopia, part medical mystery, part Hawthornian allegory, and part reality show, The Colony is a potent exploration of ethics in the Age of the Genome (Chris Bachelder, author of The Throwback Special). It’s also a “hilarious, deeply moving, sexy, scary novel . . . about finding love, finding a home, finding family, and all the other doomed experiments we conduct in the hope in making a better human” (Brock Clarke, author of The Price of the Haircut).