Charisma by Steven Barnes

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It began well - an experiment in techniques to teach high-risk children - poor, minority, children - the life-strategies that will allow them to succeed in life. And not just succeed, but overcome the odds and become wildly successful. They chose as their model a man who had done it all - Alexander Marcus; a black man who raised himself up from poverty to become one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in America.

The imprinting is effective. The children are focused, driven. They are inventive, intelligent, and love learning. But there is a mysterious darkness to them - a ruthlessness that is surprising.

Renny Sand first met the children as a journalist covering the sensational trial of a preschool operator. There were terrible charges of sex abuse, but the thing that stayed with Renny was the strange poise and power of a group of eight year old children. That, and the face of the mother of one of them, Vivian Emory.

Now the children are thirteen years old, and one of them has been killed in a mysterious hit-and-run accident. Renny Sands sees the possibility of big story, a human interest story, a story that might jump-start his flagging career. He'll do a follow-up on the preschool scandal; and he might get a chance to restart his love life as well - Vivian Emory has divorced her husband in the five years since he met her.

About Steven Barnes

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Born in Los Angeles in 1952, Steven Barnes began writing at the age of five, and since that time has published over two million words. His first published collaboration, "The Locusts," was nominated for the 1980 Hugo award, and his Outer Limits episode "A Stitch In Time" was nominated for a Cable Ace Award and won an Emmy for Amanda Plummer. He also wrote a one-woman show based on the life of Bessie Coleman (the first Black Aviatrix), been the Kung-Fu columnist for Black Belt Magazine (he holds dan rankings in Judo and Karate), and served as the host of the world's longest-running science fiction radio show,  Hour 25. Currently living in Washington State with his wife, Novelist Tananarive Due and his daughter Lauren Nicole, Steven is working on a series of novels set in prehistoric Africa, for which he recently spent two weeks on Tanzania's Serengeti plain.
Published June 29, 2002 by Tor Books. 384 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Charisma

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Without engaging in the sort of detailed criticism of Said's scholarship found in Robert Irwin's Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents (the book is not even cited), Veeser maintains that his former professor "became an intellectual celebrity" by turning his weaknesses into strengths.

Jun 08 2010 | Read Full Review of Charisma

SF Site

Perhaps, where you live is different, but the people in Charisma are the people I queue up with for movies, that I gripe to about the kamikaze drivers, that make up my landscape.

| Read Full Review of Charisma

Strange Horizons

Barnes tells the story of a group of very special children, a handful of mature adults, several striking and heroic senior citizens, families, workplaces, and the town of Vancouver, Washington.

Jul 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Charisma

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