Mark Budz, Author . Bantam $6.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-553-58659-6

Budz's first book, Clade , drew comparisons to William Gibson; his second proves that such claims were far from hyperbole. While Gibson twisted language to imagine technology evolved far beyond our present frame of reference, Budz instead fetishizes the wet areas where tech physically interfaces with people (Kevin Anderson coined the phrase "BioPunk" to describe Clade ). A challenge to both the imagination and the intellect, the first few chapters are dense with confusing jargon and unheard-of social schemas; readers are thrown into this brave new world without a guide (nor a glossary, for that matter, making at least one reread essential). But a story quickly emerges: at some point in the future, years after an "ecocaust" has decimated the world we know and given rise to a tech-dependent society that barely resembles our own, a lethal virus is spreading among the workers on a populated asteroid called Mymercia, and threatens to worm its way through all humanity. In Budz's world, as in Gibson's, story takes a backseat to setting; this is not so much about the race against time as it is about a society that's fresher and far more arcane (neuroelectrical drug delivery, churches that own their parishioners, drugs that facilitate basic human relationships) than anything Terry Gilliam or George Orwell has imagined. Budz's unusual wordplay draws variously on the scientific rationality of Asimov, the drug-addled hangover visions of William Burroughs and the playful spirit of Dr. Seuss. Budz may be poised to become hard SF's next superstar. Agent, Matt Bialer. (Nov. 23)

Reviewed on: 10/18/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 277 pages - 978-0-553-90080-4
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