Sunday, September 19, 2010

CBRII: Undercover by MaryJanice Davidson

This is a collection of three romance novellas. As I said earlier, I’m currently working my way through a long-term study that means I have to keep an eye on the mice three times a day. With the other eye, I read novels. Since these are just short bursts, I figured novellas by an author whose work I usually enjoy was a great choice.

‘Sweet strangers’ (gag), the first novella, has a complex plot. I’m going to explain it in dot points.

  1. Theo Forster, head researcher at a biotech firm called Androdyne has developed ‘modified cells that they can inject into the heart. The cells do the job of the pacemaker’ (direct quote). These cells are called PaceIC.
  2. The head of Androdyne, Jekell, made a deal with the chinese manufacturer of existing pacemakers to bury PaceIC for ten years in exchange for six billion dollars (which, probably due to poor editing, later becomes sixty billion).
  3. Theo slips a sample of PaceIC into the bag of Renee Jardin. Jekell loses his shit and puts a bounty on her head.
  4. Wacky shenanigans ensue. Renee runs into a private detective. Blah, blah, blah, sex on the office floor, mix-up leading to betrayal, usual romance shit.
  5. Renee goes to the FDA, who tell Renee that Androdyne was required by law to register with them before manufacturing PaceIC, and they got suspicious when he suddenly pulled it out.
  6. For some stupid reason, Renee and the private eye head back to Androdyne, where they run into Theo, who tells them to take PaceIC back to the FDA chick who can ‘reverse engineer it and see that an appropriate company –ah- finds it and puts out their own version within a year’.
  7. Blah, blah, gun fight, Jekell is arrested, Renee and the PI go have sex and propose and shit.

Convoluted, hey? I bet Davidson spent hours thinking that one up. I almost feel bad, since one word will tear the whole thing down.


Presuming Androdyne owns the rights to PaceIC (which there’s no way in hell they wouldn’t), it wouldn’t matter how many ‘appropriate’ companies reverse engineered it, Androdyne still owns it. They still decide if it’s sold or not. Hell, they can give it out for free, bury it in a vault, whatever the fuck they like until that patent runs out.

Actually, the whole thing is a mess. Let’s go through each point.

1. Cells that ‘do the job of the pacemaker’ already exist. We’re born with them. There’s a patch of them on our heart that send an electrical signal at regular intervals to induce the chain-reaction of a beating heart. Pacemakers are inserted into people when their ‘pacemaker cells’ (yes, that’s what they’re called) get screwed up, and stop regularly firing. I know this partly because my mother has this problem. If PaceIC really existed, it wouldn’t replace the existing cells, it would regulate them. And seriously, inject cells into the heart? Yeah, let’s just put a random assortment of cells into one of our most vital organs and hope it sticks. No fear of immune reaction or anything.

2. Aside from the aforementioned ‘I have the patent, I can do whatever the fuck I like with it’ factor, nobody, at any point in this storyline, mentions a little thing called Clinical Trials, without which, the product cannot be sold. This is done to determine the efficacy, correct dosing regime and side effects, and takes (because these sort of things are considered important) about ten years. So, either Androdyne haven’t done them yet, in which case, the product’s not going to be on the market for ten years anyway, or they have, and everybody knows about it, so there’s no point trying to hide it. Also, if Jekell owns the company, and this product works half as well as those breathless characters make out, he'll rake in well over 6 billion dollars, and earn himself a shitload of lovely publicity in the process.

3. Whatever.

4. See above.

5. Ooh, the FDA ‘had to be informed’. NO SHIT!! Seriously, do people actually believe scientists can go around injecting whatever the fuck they like into hearts and nobody’s going to even question it? *headdesk*

6. See the rant directly under Patent.

7. See item 3.

Unfortunately, these points meant that I read the remaining novellas in a high snit, constantly muttering choice phrases about the author’s inability to do even a basic Google search. The second novella was much more enjoyable (although I’m now wondering what a banking expert would say about the plot). The third novella involved more shitting all over the reality of science – so you’ve now made a compound that speeds up skin regeneration, Theo? That’s nice. What about the nerves? Sweat glands? You know, all the other stuff that’s replaced alongside the skin with grafts. And hey, know what we call cells that grow faster than they should? CANCER! And there’s NO WAY YOU’LL HAVE THAT SHIT TO MARKET BY THE END OF THE YEAR!!! FOR FUCK’S SAKE!! WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF FUCKING REALITY DO YOU LIVE IN?!?!!


This is why the ITGeek won’t let me watch certain movies with him anymore.

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