|W. F. Halsey: To Kill an Eidolon|
Press (Paperback) ISBN: 0967197910
Most dictionaries define an eidolon as a phantom or an apparition and cite the H. P. Lovecraft line: "The putrid, dripping eidolon of unwholesome revelation." W. F. Halsey's To Kill an Eidolon defines an eidolon as an unseen being that feeds off the electromagnetic field of humans afflicted with some killer disease, sapping the victim's strength and making it easier for the disease to win. Unseen, that is, to all but the Insiders who see, stalk and kill eidolons using the power of their minds.
Fresh doctorate in her pocket, her cat in her car, Susan Danville moves from California to the Midwest to work in a large medical research facility. The Insiders observe her progress with obsessive interest. The Insiders believe Susan could give birth a new eidolon if she ever gets pregnant, because she carries two of the genes that make such an event possible.
To forestall such a medical catastrophe, the Insiders intend to kill Susan before she can give birth. Since Susan isn't seeing anyone at her new job, the question appears moot until one of the Insiders becomes emotionally involved with her -- and extremely jealous of her attention to a goodlooking male researcher at the facility.
But the Insiders aren't the only ones watching Susan. And the other watcher follows an entirely different agenda -- one that poses grave danger for all mankind.
After the exciting prologue, too many explanations (only some of them necessary) slow To Kill an Eidolon to a crawl. In addition, the exposition raises several plot points, which the book never brings to satisfactory conclusions, leading me to think Halsey plans a sequel. But the action does pick up and, ultimately, zooms along.
Like much "classical" science fiction, science drives the plot of To Kill an Eidolon, with characterization playing a largely secondary role -- though Susan remains credible throughout. The book's interesting concept alone makes the book well worth reading and leaves me eagerly awaiting a sequel.
Patricia White is the Sapphire Award-winning author of A Wizard Scorned. Her current book, the western Edwina Parkhurst, Spinster, is available from Hard Shell Word Factory.
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