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Ribofunk (Di Filippo, Paul) Hardcover – April 2, 1996


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Product Details

  • Series: Di Filippo, Paul
  • Hardcover: 295 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; First Edition edition (April 2, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568580622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568580623
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,166,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Nebula finalist Paul Di Filippo follows The Steampunk Trilogy, a collection of alternate-history novellas, with Ribofunk, a biotechnological hard-SF collection. As the radical shift of genres may indicate, Ribofunk is astonishingly diverse in subjects and styles, even though its 13 stories make up a future history. Despite the generous number of stories, the book's quality and creativity remain high throughout. In "Brain Wars," a genetically engineered disease afflicts an Antarctic army with enough psychobiological horrors to frighten even the famed neurologist Oliver Sacks. In "The Boot," a 2060s-era private investigator seeks a bio-enhanced thief-gambler who can see the dynamics of chaos and may therefore be able to beat any odds, even those of capture. In "The Bad Splice," the PI finds himself trapped alone in the superseaweed-choked, storm-torn North Atlantic with the diabolical Krazy Kat, a "splice," or genetically engineered animal-man, who has escaped bondage and become a splice-rights terrorist. A few characters recur sporadically, but one appears in every story: the Earth, its biosphere progressively altering with every tale, until the ultimate transformation of the final story, which brings the collection, novel-like, to a tremendous, terrifying, apocalyptic climax.

Few SF writers are as imaginative, energetic, or idea rich as Paul Di Filippo, and fewer still have as broad a knowledge of science and culture. And there's no contemporary SF writer who's more fun to read. --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Shifting his focus from Victorian pseudoscience to genetic engineering, two-time Nebula finalist Di Filippo follows Steampunk Trilogy (1995) with a story collection that presents a mid-21st century dominated by an awareness of the primacy of protein to all life. By linking the "ribosome" (producer of cell protein) to "funk," the title suggests the collection's general theme: that those who create life should remain compassionately responsible for it. In these 13 stories (two original to this volume), "basal" humans can no longer function adequately in the world they and their ancestors have warped, and so engineered grotesques abound. The most appealing tales are "Little Worker," about an amalgamation of 12 different species (including human and wolverine) that is poignantly devoted to its negligent human master; and "McGregor," wherein a chain-smoking Peter Rabbit rescues an "epcot" full of abused "splices" from their sadistic human keeper. The previously unpublished stories play Krazy Kat, a charismatic human-feline splice, against an artificially hard-shelled Protein Policeman. Despite occasional obscurity, Di Filippo's effervescent prose can provoke both hilarity and haunting reflections on our species' possible fate. The best of these experimental tales, written between 1989 and 1995, keenly dissect the selfishness by which humanity may doom itself to extinction.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Blown me away. I ran into it during a trip to the local library. I am now a convert. If you are a fan of William Gibson, You gotta read this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David M. Chess on October 28, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Definitely bio-punk; the world that Gibson and Williams and Sterling built, with computers de-emphasized and messy smelly squishy sexy biological stuff pumped way up.
At least in this book, Di Filippo is more willing than the classic cyberpunk writers to go over the top, to be a little silly. When he writes "Coney dropped like a smartbomb from a scramjet", he may be accurately forecasting the way technological words seep into common speech, but I suspect he's just having fun. If that sort of thing doesn't bother you, and you don't mind figuring out a heavy dose of new vocabulary on the fly (I like it, myself; I figured out most things, including "whychromes", but although I got the meaning of "reedpair" quickly enough I'm still in the dark on the etymology of it), you'll probably enjoy this book.
I did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a very entertaining, very engaging book. Fantastic, creative use of language combined with amazing insight into the possibilities of nanotechnology, cloning, genetic manipulation and better living through chemistry. The book and stories are fun but have depth and emotion. I reread this in 2001 after reading it 5 years ago and I was amazed at the perceptive forward vision that the author had in some of these stories originally published 10 years ago.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Just as the visions of William Gibson (Neuromancer, Count Zero) and Bruce Sterling (Islands in the Net, The Artificial Kid)cassandrize a gritty, dangerous future for our evolving information culture, so Di Filippo's Ribofunk addresses the implications of bio-engineering and nanotechnology.You'll find warewolves, karmachanics, black market twistoids cooking chromos on kinky bio-lab kits, helix twisted "splices" who've mixed theirs with dog chroms (and their rock bands, like Dingo Tush). As today, the culture wars continue with "Anti-Em demonstrations in front of the Board of Strings (Protein Police) chanting "No Mods, No Mixes, No Splices Less Than 60 (% human): Misery to miscegenators." You'll also encounter: surly anabolic downloading lobestrobers, Sapphos and Adoni whose parity bits got switched, Israeli token ring worms, the clubs and trip dens, dreamsnakes just slipped thru the vurt (virtual/ parallel reality) and a host of others that move toward a strangely self-organizing criticality in this challenging work. The women you'll meet are as intriguing as Burgess Shale Hullucinagenia (slots or sockets--as they're called--the men being meats and plugs), like she of the wiley chat, the prehensile nipples and labia--wearing Systemic Meat, a Great Mother somatype with a line of breasts across her torso, wide doggie clone bearing hips. Even the near normals have paralymphatic systems that aggresively react to micro and nano-invaders; arteries reinforced with neogoretex, bones threaded with stonefiber, heart with an onboard assist, hyperflexure in fingers, increased haptic and proprioceptive sensitivity and wetware enhancements hosted by the Noahs.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
A bunch of short stories, some interconnected or overlapping, all set in the same future universe. Fascinating, unique vision of a future where biological technology is dominant. Clever use of language. BUT THERE IS NO "SULTRY BODYGUARD WHO HAPPENS TO BE PART WOLVERINE"!!!!!!! Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest! I can't imagine how that quote got on the book dust jacket, and now on the Amazon reviews. One story, "Little Worker", features an essentially asexual bodyguard who is part wolverine, AND another character who is sultry. But no sultry wolverine bodyguard. I enjoyed most of the stories, most of the time. My eyes occasionally glazed over at the repeated use of chemical terms I'm not familiar with. On the other hand, I enjoyed deciphering the future slang; "eft" for money (presumably refering to Electronic Funds Transfer), "trump", as in Donald, meaning posh or wonderful (although I'd argue with that idea!) You have to hit the ground running with this book; concepts aren't spelled out, instead the surroundings and characters make it clear what's going on. It's an intelligent, thoughtful, occasionally touching work. The use of genetically altered, intelligent animals serving mankind is not an original one, Cordwainer Smith used the exact same concept in his sci-fi decades ago. That doesn't make Ribofunk any less enjoyable, I just wanted to mention Cordwainer Smith, who I think is an underappreciated genius. His collected short sci-fi, The Rediscovery of Man, is amazing.
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Format: Paperback
I cannot and do not want to judge if the future described in this book is possible or not, this is out of the question--it is deeply human, therefore real , in it's mixed human-animal and biotechnological way, objectively projecting an internal human reality (our deep dissatisfaction with what we are) and the desire to alter our selves in any possible way--this is our plan and in one way or another we do it and will always do it--from body-piercing to genetic alteration--also, its immaginative slang and jargon, with unexplained terms and inventive expressions makes it even beter--why should all be explained--this book seems as realy written in a possible future --what would a person who lived 100 years ago think of a book written in contemporairy hard slang? How much would he grasp? Do we now bother when writing a book about a reader of the past century? Why should a science fiction writer therefore bother about us now? all he needs to do is convince us that his liguistics are possible---I had a wonderfull time reading it during a 48 hour flight--four planes from Eugene Oregon to Athens Greece...what would I have done when stuck in Frankfurt for 8 hours if I did not have it with me? I would be completely lost! Would'nt I, molars?
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