The Girl with the Lightning Brain
by Cliff Ratza
Lightning Brain Press

"Advancing, Electra has the right words to describe the mess: the world is devolving intellectually, culturally, politically."

Prepare to enter a world of bacteriological warfare and global terrorism. It’s 2118, and the vaccine-resistant Techno-Plague ravishes the world, while a rogue Middle Eastern state cripples international security. Humans are dumber and governments more tyrannical. The world is on the brink of another Dark Age. Hope lies in the past, with the 2097 birth of a genetically advanced baby named Electra, created by a freak event that killed her mother and grandmother. For her own protection, Electra’s father and grandfather hide her powers, while her scientist father and his team race to perfect a Techno-Plague vaccine.

Ratza, with degrees in math, physics, business, and computer science, builds a believable future world. Fast-paced chapters track Electra’s super-charged maturation, at least intellectually. Electra’s emotions lag behind her cognitive development, and Ratza shines at building empathy with her struggle to understand feelings, chiefly through her love of poetry, the lessons of her adoring grandfather, and her deep friendship with two childhood friends in a trio dubbed the “Three Queens.” As Electra matures and achieves a superhuman state of “biofield transformation,” the plot heats to the melting point.

The author skillfully and in detail layers an intricate story of medical and political espionage among fifteen main characters. A helpful glossary and appendix enable comprehension of an imaginative future in which drugs eliminate obesity, advanced cosmetic surgery peels away years, and the legal term “co-friends” designates an intimate, serious relationship between two people of either sex. A pandemic, biological warfare, terrorism, paranoia, and an 18-year-old genetically advanced female unite to produce a unique near-future world where the stakes are high. Electra’s advanced abilities and her quest for compassion animate the action-packed plot and admirably set the stage for the next two books in this trilogy.

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