Swigart’s novel preceded Nancy Kress’ Oaths and Miracles and imagines a more probable conjunction of genetic engineering and biowarfare. One of the advantages of reading science fiction is that, when news stories like this show up, you will not be shocked.

Raw Feed (1993): Vector, Rob Swigart, 1986.Vector

This book was something of a disappointment, especially as a sf thriller.

It was obvious from the start that Ben Silver was involved in illegal genetic engineering. However, I did like the coldly rational, ruthless rationale for the secret project to wipe out ethnic Russians in the U.S.S.R. – to dictate terms of peace to the Evil Empire.

It was equally obvious that crazed psycho bushman/assassin Renfrew was going to battle akido master Shinawa.

Nor did I care for the mystical element of the Kahunas. However, the frightening notion of a plague tailored to wipe out a designated racial or ethnic group (while not new) was intriguing enough to make up for a lot.

The naval intelligence cover story about genetically engineered replication of the oil secreted by dolphins (to help boats go faster is the application) being the purpose of the project was a nice touch. I assumed – to my pretty much ignorant eyes – that the biological details were all correct.

[Evidently this was the first of a trilogy, all of which are available on Kindle.]


More reviews of fantastic fiction are indexed by title and author/editor.

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