From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This extraordinary debut novel puts Marusek in the first rank of SF writers. Life on Earth in 2134 ought to be perfect: nanotechnology can manufacture anything humans need; medical science can control the human body's shape or age; and AIs, robots and contented clones do most of the work. If only there were a way to get rid of the surplus people. When Eleanor Starke, one of the major power brokers, is assassinated, her daughter's cryogenically frozen head becomes the object of a quest by representatives of several factions, including Eleanor's aged and outcast husband, a dense zealot for interstellar colonization, a decades-old little boy and husband and wife clones who are straining at the limitations of their natures. Marusek's writing is ferociously smart, simultaneously horrific and funny, as he forces readers to stretch their imaginations and sympathies. Much of the fun in the story is in the telling rather than its destination—which is just as well, since it doesn't so much come to a conclusion as crash headlong into the last page. But the trip has been exciting and wonderful.
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Critics compared this debut SF novel to works by Charles Stross, Rudy Rucker, John Wright, and even Philip K. Dick. Marusek examines present-day trends in technical and scientific advances, projects the social, biological, economic, and political consequences of such progressand runs with it. Yet, although the author "is unstintingly generous in his speculations," notes SciFi.com, he is also "convincingly realistic." Inventive set pieces, complex and cliché-free characters with ordinary aspirations, and blurred lines between "real" and "artificial" thrilled all reviewers. Only the ending rang false in its brevity, suggesting that perhaps a sequel may be on its way.
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