Maximum Light Book Report

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate March 2001

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Maximum Light is a science fiction novel that takes place in the United States about forty years into the future. The book is made up of 3 different intertwining stories about three different main characters: Shana Walders, Nick Clementi and Cameron Atuli.

At the time that the story takes place, humanity's ability to conceive children has been reduced by synthetic endocrine disrupters, pollution and other chemical dangers. Fertility is at an all-time low and human cloning is impossible. Cloned human eggs just divide into thirty cells and then fail to differentiate. They will just keep growing into a mass of undefined cells until they are stopped. Children are scarce and sought-after. They are considered a "natural resource" and are protected fervently.

Shana Walders is a nineteen year old that has just finished her national service and has no family and no where to go. On her last mission with the national service corps Shana was sent with a civilian to find his lost pet after an explosion.

The civilian ran away and Shana chased after him. He ran into a warehouse and when he came out Shana saw the most shocking sight ever. The man was carrying a cage. In the cage were three baby chimpanzees. These were not normal chimps though. Instead of ape faces, they had the identical faces of a human child. Their hands were human hands as well.

Nick Clementi is an elderly physician placed of a government medical committee that is faced with a predicament: a young girl just out of national service claims to have seen a man carrying three chimpanzees with human feces. The committee knows that the only way this would be possible is through vivifacture. Vivifacture is a technique for engineering human tissue. The tissues are grown on polymer, biodegradable "scaffolds" placed of the underbelly or back of an animal bred without an immune system. All members of the committee except for Nick do not want to deal with this issue so they accuse the girl of lying forget the entire issue.

Cameron Atuli is a professional dancer in his early twenties. Cameron is homosexual, and the world detests homosexuals. Therefore, the only place where Cameron can find safety is Aldani House; a place where dancers of all races, sexualities and nationalities can find comfort and compassion. Cameron knows he has gone through some serious, traumatic even, because his memory has been erased. He knows nothing about himself other than his name and that he is one of the most promising and attractive young dancers in the world.

When Shana and Cameron meet, she realized that Cameron's face is the face that she saw on the chimps. They both turn to nick for help and realize that not only did the mysterious perpetrators take Cameron Atuli's face; they took his testicles as well. After a medical examination they realize that Cameron was castrated (before his memory was erased) and fitted with synthetic testicles. Nick and Shana figure that this is because Cameron was fertile and the criminals worked in the black market genetics business.

Cameron, Shana and Nick now have to go find out what happened to Cameron, why it happened, and how they can prevent this from happening to others. They find out the reason those chimpanzees were "vivifactured" was because of the fertility crisis. Because such an astoundingly large percentage of the population was infertile and craved children and because of the difficulty in adoption. Many people were willing to lavish their parental frustration on a pet, or a pet that when dressed in human clothes, looked just like a baby!