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Comment: The covers of the book have a little shelf wear and a slight curl. This is a science fiction novel set in 3003 about a man trying to find an elixir to save the lost species of Earth.
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Frek and the Elixir Paperback – January 13, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (January 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765310597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765310590
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,725,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Frek's pretty much an ordinary kid on an Earth with a collapsed biosphere controlled by NuBioCom. Then he receives a message that the Anvil, an alien's ship, is coming for him. Outside the house, the Gov's agents set up shop to watch for the Anvil. Under his bed, Frek finds a cuttlefish that tells him he's going to save the world. The agents find it, too, and chemically interrogate Frek, ruining his short-term memory. Frek and Wow, his dog, run away, and then Frek is taken aboard and away on the Anvil, traveling the galaxy with the alien, who wants exclusive rights to humanity's "branecast." Branecasting is popular with a number of other species, and humanity is the hot new thing on it. By fortuitous accident, Frek becomes humanity's agent with the Planck brane entities who run the whole shebang. Of course, branecasting is far more sinister than mere observation, for it allows a viewer to manipulate those who are branecast. Rucker fills out a bizarre future with a myriad details. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Oh, excellent! I love books that play with physics - branes and so forth - and this is godzoon googly indeed as Frek would say, and darned exciting. . . . a splendid book."-Diana Wynne Jones on Frek and the Elixir

"This book is Robert Heinlein's Have Spacesuit-Will Travel with the vacuum tubes replaced by wetware and all the knobs turned up to 11!"-SF Weekly on Frek and the Elixir


"This book is Robert Heinlein's Have Spacesuit-Will Travel with the vacuum tubes replaced by wetware and all the knobs turned up to 11!" (SF Weekly)

"Oh, excellent! I love books that play with physics - branes and so forth - and this is godzoon googly indeed as Frek would say, and darned exciting. . . . a splendid book." (Diana Wynne Jones)

More About the Author

Rudy Rucker is a writer and a mathematician who spent 20 years as a Silicon Valley computer scientist. He's a contemporary master of science-fiction, and received the Philip K. Dick award twice. His 37 published books include novels and non-fiction books such as THE FOURTH DIMENSION. His cyberpunk series THE WARE TETRALOGY and his novel of the fourth dimension SPACELAND are favorites. His memoirs NESTED SCROLLS and ALL THE VISIONS offer uniquely skewed insights into our times. Recent books include COMPLETE STORIES and the novels TURING & BURROUGHS and THE BIG AHA. His new reprint collection TRANSREAL TRILOGY includes his classic novels THE SECRET OF LIFE, WHITE LIGHT, and SAUCER WISDOM. More info at http://www.rudyrucker.com

Customer Reviews

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The book is Rucker's denoucement of monoculture, a perfect statement for our day and age.
Jonathan Strange
Rudy Rucker has created an astonishingly creative story by mixing well-drawn comedy and drama with the latest knowledge in biotech, computing, and quantum physics.
doomsdayer520
I think this book is meant to appeal to the young adult market, but it's equally fun for adults.
Ramona Boersma

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dmitry Portnoy VINE VOICE on April 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I think it was David Hartwell who said that "The Golden Age of science fiction is twelve." Twelve is the age when you first read that book (Asimov's "Foundation"? Clarke's "Childhood's End?" Frank Herbert's "Dune?") that blows open your mind, and makes you look at a brand new world (this one.)
Rudy Rucker's new novel is the third attempt in the last couple of years by a major science fiction author to recapture the primal excitement of that moment by embracing and radically re-inventing familiar ideas and sub-genres. John Clute's "Appleseed" is a dense, trippy, phantasmagoric riff on the 1920's and 30's space adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs and E. E. Doc Smith; Gene Wolfe's "The Knight" is a crystalline post-modern distillation of Mervyn Peake and J. R. R. Tolkien. Now, in early 2004, comes Frek with his elixir--a brash, sardonic, endlessly inventive take on the 1950's counter-culture socio-political adventure-romps like Alfred Bester's "The Stars My Destination" and Pohl's and Kornbluth's "The Space Merchants."
In 2666 multinational corporation Nu-Bio-Com releases a virus that kills off the reproductive capacity of every single organism on earth, except those that it had bio-engineered. In other words, it now holds the copyright on the entire biome.
In 3003, Frek, a twelve-year old kid (coincidence?--I think not) goes on a galaxy, no, universe-spanning, adventure to fix their mistake.
His adventure has everything you could possibly want from a book like this and then some. Plus, like every great science fiction novel, "Frek and the Elixir" is really about the present--about the power of corporations, about media and entertainment, about bioengineering, about quantum mechanics, about your wife or girlfriend, your next-door neighbor, and your boss, and about you, at age twelve, and now (do you really think you have changed?)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on August 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
This has got to be one of the most inventive and imaginative novels in recent memory. Rudy Rucker has created an astonishingly creative story by mixing well-drawn comedy and drama with the latest knowledge in biotech, computing, and quantum physics. Not to mention a visual richness that will turn on the inner freakiness of even the most stoic reader. Here we have the adventures of 12 year-old Frek, who lives in the 31st century in a world of forced conformity, and where a megalomaniac biotech corporation has eliminated most of the Earth's life forms, patented the genomes of the few remaining utilitarian species (including humans), and prohibited reproduction except by contract. Meanwhile, several different species of aliens are trying to turn the human race into a giant reality show, via interactive technologies controlled by weird multi-dimensional demigods. In short, Frek is the chosen human negotiator, and decides to bargain for the return of Earth's lost species in a deadly high-stakes production deal, becoming a hero in the process.

Thanks to Rucker's knowledge of advanced science and the wildest future possibilities of technology, this novel benefits from a setting and characters quite unlike most sci-fi. The story is overflowing with crazy but strangely possible biotech and interactive technologies, while Rucker has also turned up the creativity meter with loads of inventively bizarre and truly "alien" aliens (I especially liked the wisecracking Orpolese and the droll Unipuskers). Rucker has also envisioned a completely mindboggling method of space travel called yunching, which is based on actual currently-known concepts from superstring theory.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Horton on May 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Here is a rather delightful novel from Rudy Rucker. Frek and the Elixir is set more or less at the next millennium -- to be exact, in 3003. Hundreds of years before, NuBioCom destroyed the remaining natural species on Earth, and replaced them with a very few genetically engineered variants. They even destroyed the records of the genetic code of the natural species. Now, in 3003, Houses are grown from trees, the only pets are dogs, much of the food comes from anyfruit trees, and in many other ways it is clear that species diversity is rare. Frek Huggins is a 12-year-old boy living with his mother and his two sisters. He resents the fact that his father, Carb, left for the asteroids several years before. His life is nominally fairly pleasant but he doesn't quite fit in.

Then a flying saucer shows up, looking, it appears, for Frek. Frek is suddenly the object of the not-entirely-friendly attentions of the "counselors" of Gov, the worm-like alien that controls his city. He finds a saucer under his bed, and inside it is an alien cuttlefish, who assures him he will save the world and find the elixir that will restore the natural species to Earth. But Gov's representatives are not happy, and soon Frek is fleeing, at first into the dangerous Grulloo woods, home to many unusual kritters such as the Grulloo, intelligent people consisting of only a head, a tail, and two arms. Frek and a Grulloo make their way to Stun City to free the captured saucer and kill Gov -- but that doesn't work quite as expected. Soon they are off on a trip around the Galaxy, and indeed to different "branes". The situation is a lot more complicated than expected.
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