I really do not understand entirely why this novelette was nominated for a Nebula Award. It is, I suppose, a nice little treatise on the ethical dilemmas of genetic engineering, both at birth and in adult humans. Here Barry Tenler, a midget and wealthy agent to the stars, and his aging starlet, Janie Snow, become inadvertently involved with a rouge “terrorist” group that has tried to manipulate the human genome to induce empathy in humanity. Their first attempt, which was to breed this into children at birth, had some unintended consequences. So too the second attempt, although not drawn out as much in story.
We also encounter Barry’s son, who he had genetically altered at birth to ensure he was “normal" (which in this case is a midget), also with drastic unintended consequences, although not the kind you’d expect. Barry had to make yet another decision, another ethical dilemma, later in the book regarding genetic manipulation and his son, which is where this novelette is rather clever.
But overall I really did not find the story that engaging or interesting. There really isn’t anything that drastically new in the debate over genetics, it’s just told in a different way. It’s short quick read, though, and at least mildly entertaining.