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Pleasing journeyman effort,
This review is from: 1 Million Tomorrows (Pan Science Fiction) (Paperback)
It's the 22nd-century and anyone who takes the injection will live indefinitely with their physical age fixed. The downside is that in men the shot causes both sterility and impotence. Our protagonist, Will Carewe, works for a manufacturer of the drug, and the firm offers him an experimental version that won't destroy his sex life. Thinking this will save his 'old-fashioned' marriage, Will agrees - and quickly finds his marriage going sour and somebody trying to kill him.
The narrative is lean and compelling, as always in Shaw's work, and the naive-but-resourceful hero is easy to care about, making for an addictive read. The adventures display Shaw's usual approval of reason and self-reliance - his books are a celebration of Man the Toolmaker. There's also the trademark screwed-up relationship and the expansion of the story from a single SF what-if gimmick.
But this is an early effort by Bob Shaw and it does show. The society resulting from this unlikely drug, with sexually active women vastly outnumbering sexually active men, feels a little cardboard. And though the drug launches the narrative, it doesn't drive it: essentially this is a thriller after the first act, rather than a working through of the effect of the drug on the individual and society. And, alas, the climactic confrontation is more than a little silly.
Nonetheless the elements of classic Shaw are all there, making this a flawed but thoroughly enjoyable read.