Patrick Sullivan is a lawyer, not an activist. If the country club managers hadn't been so rude and so contemptuous, he would have walked away from the sims seeking a union. In a moment of pique, however, he took on the clients and the case--and set himself up for a world of trouble. SimGen has become one of the largest corporations in America largely on the strength of one 'product.' A genetically altered species of chimpanzee, with human genes spliced in--the sim. Thanks to hardworking sims (engineered to work without complaining, without pay, and without weekends and holidays), the U.S. is able to compete with low-wage countries again, able to spare its 'humans' from the worst jobs, and able to enjoy an economic boom. When Patrick files his lawsuit, SimGen turns its legal and extra-legal weapons directly on him--because sims are property, and property cannot unionize, cannot petition the government, and certainly cannot be considered 'people' in any sense--not if SimGen is to stay in business. Worse, SimGen has powerful backers--backers that frighten even the corporation's founders. They don't like Patrick much either. Fortunately, Patrick finds a few allies--in an organization that is trying to eliminate the entire sim industry. But allies like that can get him killed too.
Author F. Paul Wilson has created a powerful and exciting story out of current headlines. In scientific circles, there is currently a debate about whether chimpanzees should be reclassified as part of genus homo--as part of the human family. They are, in fact, more closely related to humans than they are to gorillas. DNA research is inserting genes from one species into another--to produce insect resistant crops and specialty animals for medical research. Science could allow development of something like the sims, and allow it relatively soon. Wilson's fears about the government backing down to financial pressures and of secret government funding of projects is also based on current trends--the C.I.A. has even created a venture capital fund to promote research into areas of its interest. Wilson didn't even get into the heart of the problems of government agencies who have their own funding and no need to go to Congress for funding and authorization.
Wilson's strong writing propells the story forward. Although many of the plot twists are predictable, they are, nevertheless, enjoyable and satisfying. SIMS is hard to put down. I read it in a single sitting.