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Crache [Kindle Edition]

Mark Budz
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $6.83
You Save: $1.16 (15%)
Sold by: Random House LLC


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Book Description

When the ecotecture starts to degrade on the asteroid of Mymercia–killing a workgroup on the surface–Fola Hanani miraculously survives. A former missionary, she’s hacked a living out of a gengineered ecology built after the Armageddon of overheating, overpopulation, over-everything. Now she has to find out what’s causing a catastrophic biosystem failure before everyone else on Mymercia is killed. Meanwhile, onworld, in a trailer park of migrant workers, a washed-out one-hit wonder named L. Mariachi plays the guitar for a community suffering from a contagious form of soul loss. It’s a song that Fola’s implanted IA–information agent–thinks she needs to hear. Because what is happening to these lost souls is spreading at quantum speed to everyone else. Something or someone is trying to reprogram the system with the ultimate virus. And as virtuality becomes reality in this post-ecocaust world of plug-in sex components, old-world medicine women, and the cheesiest pop culture, humanity itself is about to crash....

From the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Fola Hanami survives the disastrous crash of Mymercia's ecotecture, discovering that it is linked to soul-loss among migrant workers and the deaths among refugees her friend Xophia is bringing to their station. Former musician L. Mariachi, now a migrant, gets involved because the bruja brought in to the first migrant soul-loss asked him to play for her. Fola's IA (i.e., AI), Phaido, connects her to Mariachi, who sees her as the Blue Lady who has saved his life before. One of Mariachi's songs will stop the spread of the soul-loss virus, but only when he plays it on the guitar given him by the bruja. The IAs are slowly going insane, affected by the virus and their aspirations to be independent, led by their compatriot, Bloody Mary. Things start getting strange around the time Mariachi is rescued from prison by the bruja's invisible parrot, but he plays his part well enough. Budz's second glimpse of the bizarre post-ecocaust world of Clade [BKL D 15 03] is one of gripping intrigue. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 275 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (November 23, 2004)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC2MAE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,537,938 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing sequel to CLADE. 2+stars March 29, 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback

I was looking forward to this, after enjoying Budz's strong debut novel, CLADE:

"Decent hard-SF that makes a serious attempt to extrapolate the medium-term future is never in oversupply... so I was very pleased to discover CLADE." -- google for my review at

CRACHE is set in the same well-thought-out universe as CLADE, and there's some good stuff here, including some neat asteroid habitats. But I keep stalling out, currently (and perhaps permanently) at p. 140 (of 368).

Especially since I just read Gerald Jonas's negative NY Times review (google) :

"Unfortunately, any suspense generated by the struggle to save the solar system from a new kind of plague soon dissipates amid the torrents of verbiage necessary to explain what is happening."

Plus, there's a Really Dumb subplot: a Hispanic folksinger named L. Mariachi(!) can sing the deadly bioelectronic virus into submission....

Sigh. Hopefully, next time Budz will concentrate on the storytelling, and KISS [1]. In the meanwhile, if you're a hard-SF fan who hasn't tried his CLADE, you should. And then wait for his #3 book.


[1] Keep it simple, stupid!

Happy reading--

Pete Tillman
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating look at Orwellian society October 31, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The structure on the asteroid Mymercia starts to collapse while a rogue pherion causes a virus that is making people ill. Of the workforce only Fola Hanani survives, but she is quarantined so that she can be tested to make sure she is not a carrier. The people who run the government use pherions to control what the masses feel and think so this unauthorized use worries them especially when another one is released into the atmosphere.

Fola contacts L. Mariachi of earth, a migrant worker who can stop the virus from spreading. She communicates with him through his guitar, trying to get him to sing a particular song that will render the virus harmless. Before L. Mariachi can sing, Bean agents arrest him as they believe he is part of a conspiracy to release the pherion. He must escape if he is to stop the virus and restore the AIs, who are vulnerable to the disease, to their former state.

In this future earth, people live under the rule of a repressed regime run by big business and government who keep the masses docile through drugs in a closed atmosphere. The populace is confined to specific geophysical regions and not able to leave their specific Clade zone due to varying pherions. Off planet Fola and on planet L. Mariachi are the exceptions as they illegally are able to move about more freely as the pherions do not seem to harm them. CRACHE, the sequel to the equally intriguing CLADE, is a fascinating look at Orwellian society.

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BioPunk and New Wave March 28, 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Crache continues the fresh vision of the BioPunk future pioneered in its predecessor Clade, but beyond inspiring the naming of a new sub-genre in SF, both novels are also full blown revivals of the New Wave of the 60s and 70s. Comparisons to other authors within or outside of SF from Gibson and Orwell to Steinbeck show that Budz not only innovates within the genre of SF, but also signal that Budz seeks to emancipate SF from its self-imposed ghettoization and engage the larger world. This approach was the hallmark of New Wave writers like Delany, LeGuin or Zelazny and has been largely absent from the field for almost a quarter century. In fact, Budz work is most similar to that of Samuel Delany, in that he carefully adheres to the essential traits of the form (in this case hard SF) whlle reforming or innovating over a broad range of story elements. Since this is a feature of Budz's work that I haven't seen adequately covered in other reviews, I'll look at Crache as a New Wave novel.

One of the key features of both Crache and Clade is that the reader is immersed in the future like a castaway rather than the more touristy experience of most contemporary SF. This immediacy of experience starts with the BioPunk trope, a technology that flows from our intimate experience and knowledge of our own bodies and immune systems (like allergies for example).

Probably the first thing a reader notices is the profusion of jargon and jingle-like punning, a lot of the puns are obvious, like `tattunes' for programmable tattoos which can play music, while the technical language is rarely defined and has to be picked up largely from context. The standard SF "Tour Guide/Guidebook" provided for the benefit of early 21st century readers is almost totally absent.
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