by Joe Mayhew
Brenda Clough’s HOW LIKE A GOD (Tor, $22.95) is about a man who encounters the ancient Babylonian demigod Gilgamesh. The hero, Rob Lewis, a decent family man, has somehow acquired substantial power over people’s minds. At first he uses the power casually, but he is a man with a strong conscience who is scandalized when his wife decides he should, at the very least, become president or rule the world. What’s more, his power seems to be affecting his twin babies. To insulate them from “distortion,” he decides he must leave home. He flees to Manhattan, where he becomes despondent and starts to use his powers indiscriminately. Soon, though, his conscience catches up with him.
He seeks out Dr. Edwin Amadeus Barbarossa, a neurobiologist who gleefully applies scientific analysis to Rob’s supernatural powers and becomes his sidekick. But Rob begins to have intrusive visions about a place in the desolate steppes of central Asia called Aqebin. He feels compelled to travel there, and Dr. Barbarossa decides to go with him; there they confront the ancient and embittered immortal Gilgamesh.
The novel has the feel of fantasy rather than science fiction. It is a solid and even elegant story.
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