Book recommendation: All Fall Down, by John Saul

I know, I know–I’m behind on my book recommendations. Unfortunately, I haven’t had as much time to read lately as I would have liked.

But, I did recently finish a novel I’d like to tell you about. All Fall Down was one of John Saul’s earliest novels. It was originally published back in 1982 under the name The God Project, and is a cross between science fiction and horror.

As with my last recommendation, I need to warn you ahead of time that this post does have some very slight spoilers in it. I don’t give away anything specific, though, so I definitely encourage you to read on.

All Fall Down introduces us to two families: the Montgomerys and the Corlisses. After the Montgomerys’ daughter dies of SIDS and the Corlisses’ son disappears, both families are thrown into chaos. Sally Montgomery is looking for answers, but doesn’t know who she can trust. Steve Montgomery wants his family to just move on from what happened. And Lucy Corliss is trying to balance her desire to find her son with her hesitancy to trust her ex-husband.

But while these characters and their internal struggles make up a good deal of the novel, they aren’t its focus. Instead, All Fall Down’s main purpose is to look at the idea of genetic engineering and what it can accomplish.

I have to tell you, the scenario the novel proposes is a scary one. Yes, this is in part due to the deaths and disappearances that take place. But mostly, the horror is caused by the idea that what happens in the novel could, potentially, happen in the world.

Now, as far as I know, scientists haven’t yet accomplished what they managed in All Fall Down. But genetic engineering is a field that’s being explored, and so it isn’t hard to imagine that it may someday bring about a similar situation.

That’s why I recommend this book. Yes, it’s a good read, and, yes, it’s well written. But mostly it makes you imagine what science may someday bring about–and it makes you think about whether that’s actually a good thing or not.

Goodreads summary

Something is happening to the children of Eastbury, Massachusetts. Something that causes healthy babies to turn cold in their cribs. Something that strikes at the heart of every parent’s darkest fears. Something is taking the children one by one. Now, an entire town waits on the edge of panic for the next nightmare. there must be a reason for the terror. they all know it. But no one ever suspected…

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