cover image Burrowed


Mary Baader Kaley. Angry Robot, $14.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-915202-14-7

Kaley’s debut, a cleverly crafted exploration of the morality surrounding a genetic virus, captivates with inventive science and adventure. In the far future, a genetic plague has separated humanity into the physically weak but intellectually gifted Subterraneans, who live underground to protect themselves from disease, and the hardy but feeble-minded Omniterraneans, who toil above ground to grow food and provide supplies for the Subters. Zuzan Cayan is a sickly 19-year-old albino Subter with an intelligence score off the charts. Because her life expectancy is only four-and-a-half more years, her job prospects are limited—until geneticist Maven Ringol sees her potential and recruits her for an important mission: curing the disease that keeps the Subters underground so that society can be reunited in future generations. They must hurry as the Omnits respond to false reports that the Subters are trying to kill them with increasing threats and bombings. Meanwhile, betrayal brews within some Subter factions. Despite a few side plots that distract from the urgency of the mission, the well-developed characters, thorny moral questions, and intricate science will keep readers attentive. Those who like meticulous detail and compassionate characters in their science fiction will enjoy this riveting thriller. Agent: Ali Herring, Spencer Hill Assoc. (Jan.)