Cancer cure leads to a fictional genetic disease „DGD“ with symptoms like self-mutilation and psychosis. At the first sign of the disease, patients are locked away in treatment centers where they can only harm themselves. It can be delayed with a special diet but ultimately, patients have to be isolated. Lynn’s parents both died of DGD, and now she lives waiting for symptoms to show up. As soon as people recognize her diet or her DGD emblem, they treat her like a pariah.
She decides to live together with other infected people and visits a clinic treating DGD people. From her personal experience, those clinics are harsh and violent. But this one is astonishingly different.
Butler portraits the insecurity, and discrimination of society facing a modern kind of lepra or HIV contrasting personal responsible decisions regarding reproduction in the case of genetic diseases. DGD is only an extrapolation of existing diseases, leaving the story not as a far away dystopia but as a near future possibility. It remembered me a lot of the 1961 Contergan-scandal where tranquilizers led to thousands of malformed children.
Butler manages it to put depth in Lynn’s character in only a couple of pages. Also, much information about the disease is spread over the course of the story without overloading the reader.
It feels like the core of a novel, and if it would be one, I’d certainly read it.