REVIEW: “A Mastery of German” by Marian Denise Moore

Review of Marian Denise Moore, “A Mastery of German”, in Zelda Knight and Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald, ed., Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction From Africa and the African Diaspora, (Aurelia Leo, 2020) — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).

When one of her colleagues goes on maternity leave, Candace Toil takes over her role as project manager of project “Engram” — with explicit instructions to either bring the project to conclusion or kill it. The project notes are scanty, and when Candace meets the lead scientist, Dr. Walker, both she and the reader are plunged into details of genetics and memory and inheritance, all feeding into the research that Dr. Walker and his team are doing.

I have no idea if any of the science in the story holds up: But I don’t care. It has enough of that ring of truth that any good SF story needs to have to be convincing, and to leave me wondering “but what if this were really possible…” I’m glad when Candace asks whether there’s a company ethicisti involved, and I both laugh and shiver with discomfort when Dr. Walker replies, “QND was not set up like a normal pharmaceutical company, but I’m certain that we have lawyers.” That’s not an answer to her question…

And yet, despite all the possibilities for misuse and damage that Candace and Dr. Walker’s project has, the story ended with an unexpectedly happy and optimistic outlook. All in all, I found this one very satisfying.

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