Nebula finalist Paul Di Filippo follows The Steampunk Trilogy, a collection of alternate-history novellas, with Ribofunk, a biotechnological hard-SF collection. As the radical shift of genres may indicate, Ribofunk is astonishingly diverse in subjects and styles, even though its 13 stories make up a future history. Despite the generous number of stories, the book's quality and creativity remain high throughout. In "Brain Wars," a genetically engineered disease afflicts an Antarctic army with enough psychobiological horrors to frighten even the famed neurologist Oliver Sacks. In "The Boot," a 2060s-era private investigator seeks a bio-enhanced thief-gambler who can see the dynamics of chaos and may therefore be able to beat any odds, even those of capture. In "The Bad Splice," the PI finds himself trapped alone in the superseaweed-choked, storm-torn North Atlantic with the diabolical Krazy Kat, a "splice," or genetically engineered animal-man, who has escaped bondage and become a splice-rights terrorist. A few characters recur sporadically, but one appears in every story: the Earth, its biosphere progressively altering with every tale, until the ultimate transformation of the final story, which brings the collection, novel-like, to a tremendous, terrifying, apocalyptic climax.|
Few SF writers are as imaginative, energetic, or idea rich as Paul Di Filippo, and fewer still have as broad a knowledge of science and culture. And there's no contemporary SF writer who's more fun to read.
Source: Cynthia Ward, Amazon.com.