When the beloved president of Kershaw University died, the faculty fell into a state of worry. Their pet projects were coming under more scrutiny than they had ever imagined. From the secret army project to create soldiers who did not need sleep to research in the lifestyle of laboratory rats, no laboratory was safe from the prying eyes of newly-instituted president Mark Winner. However, this is only the beginning of the problems at Kershaw. Scheming professors, a scandal that nearly closed the medical school, and so much more have the potential to damage the reputation of a university that is only beginning to turn itself around.
While this storyline sounds ridiculous, Daniel S. Greenberg manages to turn it into the captivating novel that is “Tech Transfer: Science, Money, Love, and the Ivory Tower.” This novel dives into the depths of the politics surrounding academia with tales of greed, lust, and chaos. While “Tech Transfer” is meant to be a satirical commentary on university politics, some readers may have trouble differentiating fact from fiction. Greenberg’s skill at crafting such an engrossing story really brings “Tech Transfer” to life.
However, as great as the story may be, it is often hard to follow for those searching for a typical plot. “Tech Transfer” is not a typical fiction book – the plot is written similar to a nonfiction novel with little dialogue and long character descriptions. The story advances through narration, not dialogue, as some readers may be accustomed. Although this story is not necessarily the easiest to read, it is certainly interesting and is often unpredictable. The frequent introduction of new characters as well as complex situations will certainly keep many readers on their toes.
Sadly, these new characters are often introduced with lengthy descriptions that seem out of place and, in some cases, leave much to be desired. Typical fiction readers expect to learn about the characters through dialogue, not a long list of attributes and history, and this is where Greenberg fails. If he had allowed readers to learn about the characters as they read the story, it would be a much more engrossing read and likely attract a much larger audience. As it is, the characters are extremely flat and readers may have difficulty falling for them. Greenberg never gives a reason for readers to care about his characters, making his novel difficult for many to read.
However, if one can move past the poor character development, “Tech Transfer” is a wonderful, witty read that dives into the depths of university politics. While it may not be extremely rewarding to those with little or no knowledge on the subject, it is certainly an eye-opening read with enough scandal to hold one’s interest.