Leisure, Aug 2002, 6.99, 384 pp.
Visimorph dominates the software industry by control of the most widely used operating system, which is on just about everyone's computer. Owner Bob McIntire makes a fortune as every upgrade result in people required buying the latest software or not function in society.
Working for Visimorph, former hacker Vic Barnhardt provides security programs to stop her former colleagues from breaking and entering computers. Secretly, Vic creates an Artificial Intelligence that she names Jodie. Vic wants Jodie to feel feminine without the trappings of society that the developer believes forces people like her to hide her curves to be accepted amidst her peers. Jodie begins to take over programs, servers, and libraries owned by others, but to Vic's chagrin feels male and is falling in love with his creator. However, Bob learns about Jodie and has plans to use the AI to further his own goals.
BODY ELECTRIC plays out on several levels as Susan Squires takes a giant leap towards superstardom. The story line is a powerful science fiction that digs deep into the meaning of life. The plot also takes a close look at gender in a highly technological society. The characters make this tale work as readers believe that Vic is a confused woman struggling for her sexual identity as much as Vic battles with her/his “human” identity similar to the Malkovich movie Making Mr. Right. Ms. Squires has written a powerful novel that will earn the author many accolades and awards.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner