Book Review: Off Target, Eve Smith
Science Fiction: Off Target, Eve Smith
Blog Tour February 17, 2022
All in all, I may prefer my speculative fiction to be set somewhere in the far off future on a far distant planet with completely imaginary issues. Off Target is none of these. It is brilliant, set in a very near future on our very own planet with issues that could be on tomorrow’s front page. The one and only problem with that is how close to home it feels.
Susan has been trying to have a baby for a long time. Her husband, Steve, is dead set against IVF or any other medical intervention. The tension between them is straining their marriage. In the midst of their marital struggles, Susan has a one-night stand with a coworker–and she becomes pregnant. In an age when every child’s genome is fully analyzed, she knows that there is no way to hide the truth from Steve.
Or, is there?
In our day, gene editing through CRISPR is in its nascent stages. Scientists are in full agreement that experimenting on humans, especially children, is fraught with ethical issues. But what would we do if diseases like Huntingtons or other genetically inherited problems could be snipped out ahead of time? If you knew that there was a ¼ chance of your baby inheriting a fatal disease, would you allow testing for that? Would you allow that gene to be edited from your child so that future generations would no longer fear that possible outcome?
If so, where do you draw the line? Is there a gene for alcoholism? Depression? Intelligence? Musicality? Can we edit our children to be better, stronger, faster than ourselves? And if we decide this is acceptable, who reaps the benefits? Only the rich? Only those in rich countries? I used to joke with my wife that I wanted to adopt a baby with big feet so he could grow up, become a professional ball player, and support us in the lifestyle we wanted to become accustomed to. What if that was not a joke and something like that could be edited into the genes of a child?
Susan makes her choice, confident that her secret is safe. There are those, however, who are able and willing to publish secrets. Should her secret escape, what are the consequences of the truth for her career, her marriage, her daughter, her place in society? Is there any way to keep the genie in the bottle?
Hopefully I have not given away too many spoilers in this tease. Suffice it to say that Eve Smith’s novel kept my heart racing almost from beginning to end. Susan is an amazingly complex character. I found myself really aching for her in one moment then appalled by her decisions in the next chapter. It is easy for me to stand outside as the reader and judge her decisions. That is hardly fair. I know the pain of infertility falls mostly on women and I am not a woman. Some of her choices from beginning to end deserve to be questioned and challenged, but whether made from weakness or strength, bravery or cowardice, faith or desperation, they are choices that shape her, her family, and her daughter. The same can undoubtedly be said for all of us.
Our thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for our copy of Off Target, given for our honest review as part of this tour. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives, check out the other bloggers on this tour.
Book Review: Off Target, Eve Smith
One thought on “Blog Tour: Off Target, Eve Smith”
Thanks for the blog tour support xx