Necessary Ill
By Deb Taber

Sometimes the cure is the disease…

Jin is a designer and spreader of plagues intended to keep the human population in balance with the dwindling resources at hand. Jin is also a neuter, one of a clandestine group of naturally sexless humans whose lack of gender-specific hormones and needs, combined with other genetic differences, results in an advanced capacity to grasp science and mathematics–but in Jin’s case, not human nature and emotion. When a young woman named Sandy is thrust violently into the world of the neuters, the worlds of genders and neuters begin to clash, and only Jin can set things right…if it can connect with others enough to understand how.

From the limestone caverns deep beneath the New Mexico desert to the streets of Albuquerque, Amarillo, and St. Louis, Jin straddles the line between creation and destruction. With the help of Sandy, an enclave of underground artists, and an unwitting ally bent on taking the neuters down, Jin struggles to create the disease that will save humanity from itself…even if no one wants to be saved.

  • Trade Paperback
  • 352 pages
  • MSRP: $20

Press for Necessary Ill:


Necessary Ill, Deb Taber’s debut novel (out of Aqueduct Press) is a difficult read, but a worthy one. Difficult, because it asks hard questions and refuses easy answers; and because it demands you extend your sympathy to all sides: mass-murderers, liars, haters, the wounded and the bereaved and the betrayed. Read the full review

From Library Journal:

Taber’s debut novel presents an all-too-credible dystopic future world and, in Jin, a complex character whose mind approaches the world and its priorities in a very different way. The characterization of truly genderless individuals—not androgynes or hermaphrodites—and the portrayal of an approach to the world that is both ruthless and compassionate make this an excellent candidate for book discussion groups and provide strong evidence for the availability of significant genre literature. Highly recommended. Read more

Interview in Publisher’s Weekly (received a starred review)