Book Report: The Frankenstein Factory by Edward D. Hoch (1975)

This book proves that there are some things that should be left untried, some experiments should remain conceived in the mind of the inventor and not carried out to their horrible, unholy result. Edward Hoch should never have tried the novel form.

I love Edward Hoch’s Nick Velvet short stories. Short and snappy. This book is not.

It takes place in the near future of 1974. A team of surgeons on an island off of Baja California seek to reanimate a man from cyrogenic sleep using parts from other cyrogenic sleepers whose maintenance payments have lapsed, including the brain of a murderer. When the operation finishes, people start dying. Is it the reanimated sleeper? Or one of them?

The book pays homage to Ten Little Indians and names the earlier work. However, this book is a bit of a chore to read since the characters are cyphers who are really just names and specialties except for the woman, who is sex on a stick, and the investigator who was supposed to look in on the scientific institute’s finances (his tech investigation bureau, HQs atop the World Trade Center, natch). Finally, the numbers dwindle and the authorities arrive just in time for the real murderer to be unmasked.

The author builds tension with customary devices such as splitting up and weapons remembered halfway through the book as well as actions and behaviors on the part of the characters that I could not adequately suspend disbelief to enjoy the book.

On the other hand, the book describes a board game called Laser that hasn’t been invented yet, but it sounds interesting. I might have to work on it.

Books mentioned in this review:

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