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People Minus X

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People Minus X

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Author: Raymond Z. Gallun
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 1957

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Book Type: Novel
Genre: Science-Fiction
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This story set in the future, is about an amazing scientific achievement with a small, fatal flaw.

The achievement is one that many people have passionately wished for: a process that restores life and wholeness to innocent victims of disaster.

The process is based partly on scientific records, partly on memories of those who knew the deceased.

The restored people are exact physical duplicates of their former selves. However, slight changes in personality are noticeable. For example, a wife may remember her husband as being more affectionate then he really was - in which case, of course, the wife is grateful for the change. Wives who remembers their husbands as surly ingrates at last get real cause for complaint. The lack of control over the personality factor is, from the point of view of pure science, a flaw, but not the fatal one.

The serious trouble is that the restores people seem to lack a indefinable human quality - perhaps it is soul or a divine spark. Yet, they are physically and intellectually superior not only to their original incarnations but to their human creators as well.

The artificial people gravitate toward one another, marry, reproduce. Their children are recognizable, in some uncanny way, as part of the human race. As the number of new people increases, the rest of the earths' population draws away from them in fear and hatred.

Against this background, Ray Gallun unfolds a startling, exciting story of individuals on both sides of the conflict - among them the scientist who develops the process and is driven from the human community; the leader of the artificial people, a creature manufactured from folklore, and a young student who, in defense of humanity, sacrifices his own.


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