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Natural History
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About the Author

Born and brought up in Leeds, where she still lives, Justina Robson started writing in her teens. Her first novel SILVER SCREEN was published by Macmillan to great critical acclaim.

Reviews

In Robson's U.S. debut, a thought-provoking SF stand-alone, the British author of Sliver Screen and Mappa Mundi revisits the disquieting territory of Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End. Advances in genetic engineering have created the Forged, human/machine hybrids that carry out tasks too mundane or too dangerous for the Unevolved, as non-Forged humans are called. Soon after a Forged explorer, Voyager Lonestar Isol, returns from a 15-year trip with the Stuff (a sentient chunk of gray quartz capable of instantly transporting her anywhere), Isol announces that she's found an empty Earth-like planet in a distant star system. By claiming it as a home world, the Forged can finally break from the resented Gaiasol, the political entity that rules Earth's solar system, and become what they were meant to be. While many dream of moving out, others suspect that the Stuff's offer is too good to be true. Archeologist Zephyr Duquesnse, commissioned to study the proposed home world and make sure it's truly free of life, finds no easy answers. Fans of the sweeping, politically and psychologically aware space opera of Iain M. Banks and Ken MacLeod will be intrigued by Robson's setting and the new slant she takes on universal questions. Agent, Merilee Heifetz at Writers House. (Jan. 4) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"Thought-provoking.... Fans of the sweeping, politically and psychologically aware space opera of Iain M. Banks and Ken MacLeod will be intrigued by Robson's setting and the new slant she takes on universal questions."--"Publishers Weekly"

In the far future, humanity has diverged into separate strains: the Unevolved, or "normal" humans, and the Forged, or genengineered humans, altered for specific functions. When Isol, a machine-human spaceship, discovers an Earth-like planet far outside the solar system, she claims it as a refuge for other Forged humans who desire freedom from their Unevolved creators. Zephyr Duquesne, a human anthropologist, travels via Isol to the new planet to ascertain its fitness for occupation?only to discover an unexpected "natural" phenomenon that threatens to change the nature of reality itself. Robson, an Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee for Silver Screen and Mappa Mundi, realizes the cosmic vision of an original voice in the genre. Complex characters that challenge the standard concept of "human" bring insight and drama to a thought-provoking sf adventure with appeal to fans of both hard science and issue-oriented speculative fiction. Highly recommended. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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