Sue’s Fingerprint by Andrew D. Carlson

Sue’s Fingerprint is a 236 page science fiction book by Andrew D. Carlson. I received this newly edited and re-released book from Andrew to review in honor of his beginning to write the third book in the Sue trilogy (the second is called Sue’s Vision, the third has no title to my knowledge). I got the choice of ebook or physical book, so of course I chose physical.

The plot focuses on the GOO. Cases of a strange gooey substance behaving oddly appear in many states across the U.S. have come to the attention of the government. When coming into contact with animals, as tested with mice in labs, the goo clones animals to produce two fully functioning animals. This baffles scientists and also the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Ted, a man who works for the DHS, communicates between the scientists and his higher-ups. Everyone involved is concerned with what will happen if (and when) the goo comes into contact with humans. This is the fundamental issue behind Sue’s Fingerprint.

A woman named Sue comes into contact with the goo and is immediately replicated. The new woman, also called Sue, has no idea who she is, where she is, or even why she is. Along with Sue, other adults and children have been cloned around the USA. Through Ted, the government rounds up the humans and puts them in a compound together to start a new life from their strange beginnings. Their interactions, adaptations, and education of the way our world works, and of course the government’s reactions to them, make up the majority of the second half of the book.

Sue’s Fingerprint is a good place to jump into sci-fi. The language is easy to read and understand, and the characters all seem real. My only complaint about the book is that it might be a little too easy to read. The dialogue was funny at times, but mostly, it struck me just how simple it was. This could easily be attributed to the fact that most of the GOO characters are practically newborns–they picked our language rapidly, though, if that’s the case. There were some humorous moments where their caretakers teach them how to cook, how to read recipes/instructions, and Carlson uses the newborn characteristic to point out some funny things about American’s quirks like eating frozen dinners. These simple situations, while humorous, had a smaller scope of the goo problem than I would have liked from the story. However, that may be addressed in the sequels!

Overall, Sue’s Fingerprint is a quick, easy read. While concerned with moral issues of cloning, it still felt like an easily accessible book to younger audiences who either enjoy sci-fi or are new to it. With some minor flaws, it makes a good debut novel for a scientist, as I learned Carlson is. While I did enjoy the novel, it felt like it was targeted at a younger, newer audience for sci-fi.


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