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SALES POINTS 'What clever and compelling science fiction! The Bloom future is all too believable' James Gleick, author of Chaos: Making a New Science 'Exceptionally good ... a convincing look at the near future of nanotechnology' Vernor Vinge 'Swiftly paced, consistently inventive and tightly written. This is a novel that knows its business' - Gregory Feeley, The Washington Post A New York Times Notable Book On the reader's favourites list from Amazon and Barnes & Noble


Although set in the 22nd century, this transcendent tale of close encounters with awesome life forms echoes current anxieties over the godlike manipulations of bioengineering. Following the total engulfment of Earth and the planets of the inner solar system by mycora, a manmade species of self-replicating fungus that has developed a ravenous appetite for inorganic matter, the remnants of the human race have fled to the moons of Jupiter. Loosely organized as the Immunity, they keep a watchful eye on the encroaching Mycosystem and stamp out the horrific "blooms" by which the technogenic spores literally eat their way into a territory. The Immunity's goal is to relocate to a cleaner planetary system, but not without first investigating transmissions that improbably suggest human life may still exist on Earth. This provokes acts of sabotage by the Temples of Transcendent Evolution, who revere the Mycosystem as "some sort of hyperintelligence, maybe a direct link to God himself," and fear that the mission's covert objective is "deicide." McCarthy (Murder in the Solid State) relates the challenging clash of technology and theory that follows through the experiences of John Strasheim, a freelance journalist onboard the Earth-bound starship Louis Pasteur. The writing is vivid‘particularly in sequences that describe the chaos of bloom alerts‘but it's also challenging: technojargon casually spoken by the Pasteur-nauts can be so stultifying that it gives the events and people described the dispassionate feel of a virtual reality simulation. Readers who can plug into the prose and navigate its dense circuity, however, will find themselves rewarded with a wallop of a finale that satisfies high expectations for high-concept SF. Agent, Shawna McCarthy. (Sept.)

After an infestation of bioengineered "mycospores" overwhelms the solar system's inner planets, the surviving humans eke out a precarious existence within the asteroid belt beyond Jupiter, where they hope to build a space vehicle to carry them to the stars and‘presumably‘safety. When a group of researchers sends a manned probe toward the sun on a voyage of reconnaissance and exploration, however, their discoveries lead to a shocking and world-altering transformation. McCarthy (The Fall of Sirius, LJ 8/96) combines straightforward sf adventure with a generous dose of speculative science in this simply told story, which pits a few courageous individuals against an unknown (though once familiar) universe. A good choice for most libraries.

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