Former biologist Paul J. McAuley, multi-award winning author of Fairyland and the Confluence trilogy (beginning with Child of the River), here presents nine of his short works, mostly set in future societies rendered bizarre by rampant biotechnology. McAuley is a brilliant storyteller, and several standout pieces in this collection are astonishingly wonderful. In the short, powerful "Gene Wars," young Evan gets a kit called Splicing Your Own Semisentients, which sets him off on a life of genetic engineering, corporate piracy, and third-world exploitation, ending in the unimaginably distant future. The title story, "The Invisible Country," is an SF-noir tale that embodies the essence of cyberpunk without resorting to dark, dangerous cliché--in his afterword, McAuley explains that he wrote it for a collection in which the central conflict is resolved without violence. Several stories contain shared themes of alienation and subjugation, examined through the plight of the victims of biotech--genetically engineered slaves--and one takes place in McAuley's Confluence universe, a far future in which the stars themselves have been altered. Fans of mature, thoughtful hard SF with a quirky, cinematic edge should delve into McAuley's work. The Invisible Country is a fine place to start.|
Source: Therese Littleton, Amazon.com.