March 21st, 2009
Breedwell Press is pleased to announce the July 1, 2009 release of Lawrence Lapin’s debut novel, Super Virus: Immortal Sins. This thriller seriously considers one of mankind’s legendary pursuits: immortality.
Lapin tells of geneticist and surgeon Adam Boatwright and the strange Israeli scientist, Itzak Friedman, who might have known how to stop the aging process.
But nothing goes right for Adam.
Adam will find himself wrongly accused of Itzak’s murder. While trying to clear himself, he investigates the scientist’s experiments. It was curing Itzak’s wife’s cancer that launched it all. Before he died, Itzak was about to transfer laboratory success with animals to humans, using himself as guinea pig.
After Adam learns that his own wife Vera is likely to get the hereditary breast cancer now killing her sister, he steps into the dead man’s shoes, desperate to save her. He is undeterred in that pursuit, even though he’s been accused of slitting Itzak’s throat. The prosecutor claims that Adam’s emergency tracheotomy on the choking scientist was just a cover-up, and that his true motive was stealing Itzak’s research. Although he is innocent, Adam knows that wheels of justice turn slowly, and his projects would whither away while a trial unfolds. He must solve the murder himself. But he will simultaneously extend Itzak’s research to save Vera.
So begins a series of misadventures. Adam will become drawn into a conspiracy, of which Itzak’s strange choking death is only the first of many cruel turns. Can Adam solve that murder case without ruining any chance of achieving justice?
Adam suspects that continuous viral infection will generate mysterious I-complex chemicals warding off other viruses while ensuring that cells divide faithfully, stopping any cancer-cell growth. That would also prevent aging, which is caused by errors when cells divide. Adam’s cure for cancer will grant virtual immortality to the recipient.
Adam uses all his genetics skills and a team of researchers in attempting to create a super virus, one that is harmless but which makes cells divide perfectly. Colleagues think he is working on a preventive for saving mice, not humans. An ethical scientist, Adam must first test the super virus to see if it works and doesn’t cause harm; only then will he let Vera have it. He therefore injects himself with the genetically-engineered virus. Nothing happens, except a ringing in his ears.
But Vera suspects Adam now has all the purported properties of being virtually immortal. The only way to prove it would be to expose Adam to horrible diseases and see if he survives.
We won’t tell more of the story. But Lawrence Lapin raises many issues with Adam’s tale. First, is immortality a good or bad thing? It certainly has been a universal attractant throughout history. We’ve all heard of Ponce de Leon and his Fountain of Youth. People will pay dearly to extend their lives, even if only by months.
Another question is: what will happen to a society if people don’t age? Would the world be better? What if only a few know the secret?
Lapin’s more fundamental questions are: Can life as we know it even continue without death? Will evolution stop?
Through the eyes of Adam and Vera, the author hints at the magnitude of possible evil arising from virtual immortality. Imagine a monopolist who can control a magical substance stopping the aging process. Lapin draws the analogy between forbidden drugs, like cocaine, and the universal attractor that cessation of aging would be. Cocaine has corrupted governments and caused drug wars. The potential havoc from a substance granting virtual immortality would dwarf anything brought by mere coca leaves and opium poppies. A profiteer could control not merely billions of dollars, but rather trillions. He might hold sway over billions of people.
So what is Adam to do? To cover his tracks he must lie. He hates doing so, but deception might save the world. Nobody must know that virtual immortality might even be possible. Must he conspire to combat evil forces that would entangle him in a web of trouble and further intrigue? How will he do it? Will it work? This book tells how he copes.
And how should a decent scientist like Adam spend the rest of his life, suspecting but never certain that he is immortal? Losing his appetite for the deceptions necessary to hide that potential truth, Adam considers devoting his life using genetics in helping rescue endangered species. If he must have an extraordinarily long life, he wants some good to come of it.
Although Super Virus is Lapin’s first work of fiction, he has spent his adult life writing books. He authored a business statistics text book that some say was the best ever written. Many agree that Dr. Lapin’s forte has been clear explanations. He made statistics easy for hundreds of thousands of college students.
That writing style is reflected in this book. Lapin knows how to make complex ideas easy to understand. But Super Virus is not complicated, just light reading. It is not at all typical of science fiction. Indeed, Lapin insists his book is not science fiction. Rather, it is a story about a scientist, and the author makes a small amount of science extremely simple. Lapin asks the reader to suspend disbelief just once. Mostly, Lapin’s book reads like reality, with lots of mystery and suspense. Adam’s relationship with Vera is in itself a very beautiful love story. Lapin tells their story and gives a fast read that is crystal clear and powerful.