Reviewed in the United States on June 10, 2022
The story flowed well and was surprising at every turn! Hard to put it down. I would really like to know what else the author has in mind for Roger and his future. Outstanding book. Must read!!!
Chimera Conflict is a provocative thriller in which a doctor undergoes an intriguing surgery following a devastating accident.
In Robert Wilson Morgan’s speculative novel Chimera Conflict, a doctor’s brain is transplanted into a Uyghur man’s body in China, where he starts a new life.
Roger is a Boston native who practices medicine in Denver. He wakes up from a coma following a grisly car crash in Tibet to find himself in an Asian man’s body. He has new identity as Wu. He undergoes rehabilitation, becomes a Chinese surgeon after bribing officials, and struggles to figure out who he is.
Roger-cum-Wu’s initial confusion is dramatic, as is the fact that he volunteers for the experimental surgery that moves his consciousness into the body of a condemned prisoner. After he wakes, his mystified efforts to piece together what happened are intriguing. Later, he experiences involving culture clashes, further fracturing his sense of self: he talks to patients in Mandarin at the Chinese hospital, but also reads about Red Sox games in the Boston Globe. He also seeks to return to the United States and resume his life as a doctor there, where he hopes to run a transplant institute. Back in Denver, he faces a reckoning over his identity. He comes to inhabit two worlds.
Set in a pre-pandemic period, the story is a vehicle for lofty ideas, as of about the ramifications of transferring a brain into a donor body. It thinks through the implications of its outlandish premise in an incisive manner, weighing the ethics, effects, and practical realities of the transplant. Questions surrounding organ donations, high-risk medical procedures, capital punishment, and the plight of the persecuted Uyghur people all factor in. And the prose waxes philosophical in handling these subjects, quoting literary greats as it polishes its central conceit.
Blue Ink Review
A fascinating blend of science and speculative fiction, Robert Wilson Morgan’s novel explores the social, psychological, and ethical consequences of scientists being able to transplant a brain into a fully functional donor body. Set just before the COVID pandemic hit, the narrative revolves around Roger Scully, a Denverbased doctor and recent widower who, while travelling in Tibet, was involved in a horrific car accident that left his lower body a “pulpy mess.” Taken to the Chinese city of Chengdu for emergency surgery, he finds himself without his pelvis, hips—and everything below. Facing a radically diminished quality of life, Scully opts to become what is essentially a medical guinea pig. The high-risk surgery would transplant Scully’s brain into the body of a donor: a condemned prisoner who opted to donate his body to science for the opportunity to die under an anesthetic instead of via a bullet to the brain. Once inside his new body—which is of Uyghur descent—Scully begins a new life in China with a new name. But his ultimate goal is to make it back to the States, regain his identity as Roger Scully, and restart his medical career. Morgan raises numerous questions throughout, namely about the ethics surrounding organ donations from condemned criminals and China’s highly experimental medical procedures involving animals and humans. He also touches on the Uyghur’s plight in China, some Americans’ distrust of Asiatic people, and the question of why America doesn’t have a functioning national system of organ donation.
The Prairies Book Review
Highly intriguing and engaging… a persuasive tale of scientific intrigue.
Robert spins an exquisitely clever blend of speculative fiction and medical science, sparkling densely with elements of a fast-paced thriller. When a horrific car accident in Tibet leaves Roger Scully, a Denver-based doctor, wheelchair-bound, he decides to opt for a high-risk medical procedure in China. He gets his brain transplanted into a healthy donor body but has no idea what awaits him ahead. Robert combines an extraordinarily fascinating premise with clever details into a convincing medical reality. His plotting is tight, and he is up-to-date on sophisticated organ transplantation procedures as well as ethical issues surrounding medicine and the Uyghur’s plight in China. The pacing is somewhat uneven, especially toward the end, but the novel as a whole comes off as a deeply absorbing, intriguing medical thriller. Readers seeking an endlessly inventive and engrossing story are in for a thrill ride.
Loved it! 😍
Slowly waking from his coma, strange sensations bombard Roger Scully, MD. Hissing noises and, flashing lights. A foreign language he partially understands. Mandarin? His hospital wrist band identifies him as Wu Zicheng. He does not recognize his bearded Asian face. What happened?
His brain now functions in a Uyghur’s body. After rehabilitation, he settles into life as a Chinese surgeon, living with Lushan Zhao, a medical student.
Wu’s arrest as a Uyghur exacerbates Roger’s severe identity conflict. Is he American in a Chinese body or Chinese with an American brain?
Roger (aka Wu Zicheng) accepts an offer to address a Florida conference. There, the University of Colorado recruits him to a new institute. Students protest his hiring as an example of Chinese exploitation of Uyghurs as organ donors.
Roger enters into an intense relationship with Jessica, the governor’s daughter. Genetic investigation reveals Roger to be a true chimera, demonstrating both original and donor DNA in various organs and semen.
When Covid interferes, he and Jessica flee to her mountain ski cabin. He begins writing his memoir of a chimera. The Colorado medical board informs him that he is an imposter—they have the Chinese death certificate of Roger Scully.
I am not one that typically reads or enjoys a science fiction style of entertainment. I have never really enjoyed these movies despite recognizing the appeal and reward from a monetary standpoint. This was a well written book that was chock full of twists and turns and kept me engaged from the very first page.
The story was one that I greatly enjoyed and did not anticipate from the outset which always makes for a wonderful read. I do wish that the names of the characters and the locations would have been easier to pronounce but I recognize that is a lot of my own fault due to my American brain. I can simply keep track of things easier with nouns that are familiar to me instead of names that are completely foreign. Do not let this scare you away from this book though. After a couple of dozen pages you get the hang of it and keep turning page after page to see what happens to the protagonist.