June 2, 2005

The Nobel Sperm Bank: "No Happy Ending"

sperm_cup.gifSlate's David Plotz first wrote about the Repository for Germinal Choice online. It was a sperm bank founded to propagate the genes of Nobel Prize winners, serving the creme de la creme de la creme, if you will, to demanding parents. Now the story's a book called The Genius Factory, in which he traces the founding and many of the resulting offspring (over 200, but none from Nobelists.

Apparently the whole Nobel thing lasted about a day because, as Janet Maslin says, "The idea of Nobel-winning donors threatened to give the place a 'little bald professor' reputation."

"In addition to describing how the repository had to switch gears and alter its original agenda, The Genius Factory explores the personal side of this story. Mr. Plotz seeks out the kinds of genetically ambitious parents who chose to use the repository's services (and finds exactly the kind of arrogance one might expect)."

Maslin praises Plotz's work, his writing, his style, everything--and then she complains when he gives the reader exactly what they expect: glimpses into the lives of the children and families that resulted from such a warped, arrogant, and flawed system.

But when you see how she ends her review, you have to give Maslin a hand: job well done, Janet.

A Bizarre Tale of the Rise and Fall of an Elitist Sperm Bank [nyt]
Buy The Genius Factory at Amazon. I did. [amazon]
Read the original Slate series to get a taste of what's coming in the book [slate.com]

1 Comment

>> Maslin a hand: job well done, Janet

Urrgh -- that's worse than a pun.

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