Musings: Gem X

“I am not perfect.”

Author: Nicky Singer

Genre: Sci Fi, Dystopia, Thriller, Romance, Age: Children’s+

Released: 5th October 2006 (UK version)

GemX is an odd book that exposed me to dystopian, sci-fi stories. By the same author as Feather Boy, which some people may remember being a TV series shown on CBBC, this is out of print in the UK. I know that Amazon US has it.

I remember reading this a while ago, and although the writing quality isn’t spectacular, a few scenes have glued themselves in my mind.

The story explores what it means to be perfect, and what it means to be human. The setting is so cruel and unforgiving, and it was a gruff introduction into dystopian sci-fi, but it’s memorable to say the least.

Humans are created in batches, each one better and more perfect than the last. The scene where the lead character, Maxo Strang, finds that he has a wrinkle, his entire world crashes down on him. He ages and must deal with those consequences.

Another scene is, where the mayor of the skyscraper city, Polis, creates rain and snow to show off to one of his guests. It floods down into the city streets where all the poor people live, and kills them.

In a world where every meal is taken is capsule format, the mayor offers a capsule made from a rare ingredient: human milk.

Why not track this book down, and experience a strange and surreal journey?


In a world where perfection rules, Maxo Strang is king. He is a GemX, a boy genetically manipulated to be flawless. Nobody is better looking, more intelligent, of better social class . . . or more lacking in human empathy. Until Maxo discovers a wrinkle in his face. This can’t happen to him! It happens only to the Dreggies – the wretched underclass of unenhanced ‘naturals’ who live outside the Polis.

Terrified, Maxo begins a search for a cure. It is a search that takes him into the Dreggies’ world, a place unbelievably different from his own, where violence, poverty and ugliness are routine. There, Maxo meets Gala and Stretch, Dreggies who are searching for their father who ‘disappeared’ while volunteering for scientific research in the city.

For some horrifying yet compelling reason, he finds himself attracted to Gala. Gala and Stretch will do anything to find their dad, and Maxo may be the key. His father was the last person to see theirs before he vanished.

Now, they will use Maxo to get some answers – whether he consents or not. What none of them realises is that they are all pawns in a bigger game. The city’s Supreme Leader has plans – plans that will leave their lives hanging in the balance . . .


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