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.
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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 SchroederCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved