A teenage sociopath is “fixed” after he gets an implant that’s supposed to cure him in this thrilling coming of age tale from the author of Willful Machines.
A year ago, Rem Braithwaite watched his classmate Franklin Kettle commit a horrific crime.
Now, apart from the nightmares, life has gone back to normal for Rem. Franklin was caught, convicted, and put away in juvenile detention for what he did. The ordeal seems to be over.
Until Rem’s mother selects Franklin as a test subject for an experimental brain procedure intended to “cure” him of his cruel and violent impulses. Suddenly Rem’s memories of that day start coming back to the surface. His nightmares become worse than ever. Plus he has serious doubts about whether his mother’s procedure will even work. Can evil really just be turned off?
Then, as part of Franklin’s follow-up testing, he and Rem are brought face to face, and Rem discovers…Franklin does seem different. Despite everything, Rem finds himself becoming friends with Franklin. Maybe even something more than friends.
But when another of their classmates turns up dead, Rem’s world turns upside-down yet again. Franklin insists that he’s innocent, that he’s cured, but Rem doesn’t know what to believe. Is someone else responsible for this new murder, or is Franklin fated to stay a monster forever? And can Rem find out the answer to this question before the killer, whoever it is, comes after him too?"Floreen (Willful Machines, 2015) explores an unsettling moral question about the role of free will in determining good and evil in this gripping homage to Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. A year after bullied outsider Franklin killed a classmate, Rem still can’t escape the memories. Meanwhile, Rem’s scientist mother has developed a procedure to “fix” violent, sociopathic impulses via cerebral implant, and Franklin is her first test subject. Rem is stunned by how relatable and empathetic he is after the procedure, and the two connect over art, music, and shared attraction, adding another bomb to the minefield of Rem’s relationships—Rem, an out gay teen, is fooling around with his closeted friend Tor, who’s dating their friend Lydia. As Rem and Franklin grow closer, Rem learns disturbing news about his mother’s research, and another student is murdered, causing him to question everything. Incisive, startling, and intense, this sf-thriller-tragedy hybrid has no easy answers about weighing the good and bad in all of us."