In 1968, a sexually transmitted disease called teratogenesis swept the globe. Infected mothers gave birth to monstrous infants. Many died, at first, but by the time scientists developed a test for the disease, a million malformed babies were born in the United States. Congress created a system of state-funded Homes for these cast-off miscreations. Strict reproductive laws stopped the spread of teratogensis, but it was too late to save the plague generation.
In 1984, in rural Georgia, Enoch Bryant, also known as Dog, lives in a ramshackle Home with hundreds of other unwanted plague kids. His generation seems destined to serve as a distrusted underclass, kept separate and subservient to normals. But the plague kids are also entering adolescence, and some are discovering they have abilities far beyond mere deformities. To Dog's dismay--and that of a federal agent looking for new test subjects--all Dog can do is run fast and snarl with his canine head. Dog's days doing farm work might be numbered if his ultra-genius friend Brain's revolution ever comes to pass. Meanwhile, he envies the normal kids who go to a regular school in the nearby town, one of whom is a monster passing for human.
One of Us is part AIDS-parable, slavery story (the Home is in an old plantation house), coming-of-age tale, period piece and so much more. Craig DiLouie has crafted something special, with sympathetic characters, tragedy, hope and humor all expertly woven together. One of Us is a stunning achievement in speculative fiction. --Tobias Mutter, freelance reviewer