Volume 15, Number 01, Winter, 1997

Quantum Moon,

By Denise Vitola

Ace Science Fiction 0-441-00357-5, $5.99, 279 pp, pb, 1996.
Cover by Neal McPheeters.

Reviewed by Anders Monsen
February 1997

I picked up this book purely by chance. The cover appeared to be lifted from an Edvard Munch painting; Munch, a fellow countryman, is one of my favorite artists. A caption on the rear cover sealed the purchase, with its mention of a “United World Government… with endless rules and regulations.”The fact that it’s a werewolf story made it all the more interesting.

The mid-21st century is neither cheerful nor prosperous in what appears to be Vitola’s second novel. Bureaucracy and poverty dominate the landscape and society. Possibly the only people with privilege are doctors and politicians. When a councilman’s spouse is murdered, it falls to the lot of Detective Ty Merrick to deal with the case.

Merrick is unusual because of a medical condition she has contracted that resembles lycanthropy. She is a werewolf. Yet, this is an sf novel, and she doesn't change when the moon becomes full, or eat human flesh. Her condition does, however, make itself felt in powerful means. Her bones appear to stretch and grow, and she has monthly fits that do occur at the rising of the full moon. Is she slowly turning into a traditional werewolf?

Ty must solve both her own medical mystery along with the strange death of the councilman’s wife. The two mysteries travel parallel paths of equal interest. In a world in which existence is governed and regulated, Vitola paints a grim dystopian future, a necessary reminder of the horrors of government. A recommended novel.

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