From birth, the unnamed narrator has been trained to be the very best, to be the smartest, the most talented, the most successful. And in their very first taste of freedom, away from their domineering mother and passive father and finally at the University of Chicago, they’ve managed to develop a fascination with brains.
So fragile, so moldable, so intricate. But can they be made larger? Can they be made smarter, better?
It’s this question that leads them to create a disease, a very abomination of nature. Before they can test it though, before they can find out if brains really can be made bigger and better, they lose it. They don’t know where they’ve left the little glass vial, but now it’s gone, gone in the mass of germs that’s New York City. And they’re relieved.
But nearly a year later, they see a newspaper headline. They see that someone has died from a disease that’s caused their brain to swell, to two times, three times, four times its normal size.
And as the disease spreads, as more and more people die, they wonder if this is their handiwork, if this is their disease. Yes, of course it’s doing what they programmed it to do, but there’s no evidence that it’s theirs. So they run and hide, because what else can they do with this mixture of pride and guilt?
But when an old friend, now infected and dying, calls, asking, pleading for help, to join the team for the cure, what can they do but say yes? Because even if this whole thing wasn’t their fault, shouldn’t they try, at least for the people they love, for the people who deserve to keep dreaming, keep living?
GLASS DOMES, a novel of 67,000 words, explores the making of a biomedical mass murderer. Groomed from birth to be perfect, the unnamed narrator follows a doomed path to the creation of a new disease, destined to kill over a billion people.
Now that millions have died and even more are dying, they struggle with the guilt and responsibility, culminating in a decision that ultimately defines their humanity.
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