Mr. Adam by Pat Frank

Mr. Adam cover

Mr. Adam cover

While Pat Frank is rightly well known for his classic novel Alas, Babylon, he is also the author of the humorous novel Mr. Adam, which was in fact his first. One should recall that at the time the latter book was written, within the genre of science fiction, sex was an essentially forbidden topic; even female characters let alone romance of any kind was extremely rare. Certainly this book does not deal directly with sex, but the topic is strongly implied throughout due to the fact that producing babies is at the core of the story.

The narrator of the story is a reporter who specialized in human interest stories as the story opens. The premise slowly revealed in the book is that due to a nuclear accident, all human males on earth everywhere become sterilized by a previously unknown form of radiation. Due to fear of creating a worldwide panic, that point is kept secret as long as possible. The secret breaks however one man, a married man with the surname Adam, and his wife have a baby. As the matter is investigated, it turns out that Mr. Adam (whose name the narrator notes as a propos) was deep in a mineshaft at the time of the accident and hence shielded from the effects of the radiation.

Naturally he quickly becomes an international sensation while at the same time he is copiously poked and prodded by medical team looking to help cure others. While on the one hand, I find the somewhat ironic ending realistic, it is also nonetheless disappointing. The novel touches on so many deep questions and yet really addresses few of them– even humorosly.

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