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The Bohr Maker Paperback – June 26, 2011

33 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Nanotech Succession Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Nagata joins the growing ranks of sf authors inspired by the emerging science of nanotechnology. At the center of her brilliantly original first novel is a powerful, illicit device known as the Bohr Maker, a microscopic factory full of self-replicating machines programmed to transform a human host into a genius-level nanotech engineer. Nikko, a genetically altered resident of a space colony, is reaching the end of his built-in life span and is eager to procure the Bohr Maker, as much to save his own life as to break the stranglehold of Earth's ruling Commonwealth. Before he can lay hands on it, however, the Bohr Maker's earthbound owner is killed and its tiny machinery injected into the body of an ignorant, poverty-stricken woman named Phousita, which changes the destiny of everyone in unforeseeable ways. Nagata reinforces her compelling story line with a wealth of mind-bending ideas that make her work favorably comparable with that of leading-edge stylists such as Bruce Sterling and Neal Stephenson and sure to be popular with both critics and fans. Carl Hays --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"...excellent....bursting with ideas and adventure..." --Fred Cleaver, Denver Post

"...phenomenal....This one is a winner-grab it when you see it..." --Tom Easton, Analog
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Mythic Island Press LLC (June 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937197026
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937197025
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,433,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Linda Nagata is a Nebula and Locus-award-winning author. Her more recent work includes short fiction "Nahiku West," runner up for the 2013 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the novel THE RED: FIRST LIGHT, a near-future military thriller that was a finalist for both the Nebula Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Though best known for science fiction, she also writes fantasy, exemplified by her "scoundrel lit" series Stories of the Puzzle Lands. Linda has spent most of her life in Hawaii, where she's been a writer, a mom, and a programmer of database-driven websites. She lives with her husband in their long-time home on the island of Maui.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By MarvinT on March 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
My favorite authors include Larry Niven, Neal Stephenson, and Linda Nagata. Actually, the last few books by Neal (and I have autographed copies) have been a distinct disappointments.
But in all the mass-market books that I have been able to locate, Linda Nagata has consistently written excellent work. This is the second in the Nanotech series (w/Tech Heaven, Deception Well, and Vast), and perhaps the best.
The thrust of the book centers on the attempt to access the Bohr Maker, a "maker" that can alter the (human) host's physiology at a cellular level, and more. The technological evolution is handled very well, and some ramifications of such a technology are presented as facets of the narrative. The social situation she presents is not as well framed, but that deficiency does little to reduce the joy in reading this book.
The last 3 books of this series would certainly make it on my list of top 50, proably top 25 books.
Find it, buy it and read it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
It's too bad this novel is currently out of print, since it packages intricate and imaginative speculation about nanotechnology and its impacts on humanity with lively action, exotic local color, a social conscience *and* a charming heroine with an unbeatable combination of vulnerability and clout. Phousita is an impoverished and uneducated but gentle, clever and (by the way) "beautifully proportioned" ex-prostitute who stands less than four feet tall. Accidentally infected with the "Bohr maker," a new and awesomely powerful nanotechnological device, she acquires magical, superhuman powers of life and death. Her adventures take her from the slums of an unnamed city (apparently in Java or Malaya) to artificial habitats in outer space and back again, more or less. Along the way Nagata details a vivid series of technological wonders, from trees (and humans) genetically engineered to flourish in the near-vacuum of space, to organic self-sustaining space habitats that disperse through spores (call them spaceships). Nor does she neglect the political dynamics and cultural shifts that result from such technological developments. Significant weaknesses include rather flat rendering of most characters and occasional lags in the plot's pacing. Nagata's next two books (Tech Heaven and Deception Well) do not live up to the promise of this one, in my view, but I look forward to checking out Vast and Limit of Vision.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Magnitude on December 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Nagata's novel builds the transhuman setting that, through repetition and elaboration over nearly 20 years, has by now become comfortably recognizable in its broad strokes. The novel's world exists somewhere along the continuum toward the end result in H.G. Wells's "The Time Machine," here with an effete and technologically advanced society high up in Earth orbit, while the downtrodden live below on nasty old Earth and, indeed, even eat the molecular decay from the bodies of the higher ups that wash up in the rivers (or so it seems).

We meet a variety of characters from these worlds: Nikko and his brother Sandor from higher up, as well as Kristin, a police chief; Phousita and Arif from down below. The latter two, it should be pointed out, are escaped child sex slaves, who apparently were designed as pleasure toys for the ultra-rich advanced types. Phousita inherits a miracle technology, the Bohr Maker, and sets off a chain of non-events that swirl into a sometimes bewildering and ultimately unsatisfying molecular stew. Nagata does not have seem to have the gift of developing multiple characters along one plot line, and her focus, and ours, becomes diffracted as a result.

Nagata's prose style is vague on the more interesting points that would drive the plot and reveal the characters' motivations, and she's overly exacting on some of the more banal points of the narrative. While there is hardly any exposition of how this world came to be, or how this rich-poor dichotomy continues to function economically, there was a tedious 2-page description of the characters trying to figure out how to dock their spacecraft.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this story -

Sci-Fi is at its best to me when it combines "real" people, a good story and lots of "it might happen sooner than you think" technologys/situations

I found the characters both otherworldy and understandable - I didnt understand thier motivation at all at the beginning, but by the end I had got "into thier heads" - I have thought about them a bit afterwards and wonder if they would seem more natural to a japanese reader, coming from a culture which emphasises self control and etiquette.

The story itself was a great yarn, but filled with many enriching observations/details - I have not felt this many times, but on closing the book I thought "This would make a great movie"

The ideas are also really intriguing - essentially a projection of how genetic engineering will manifest itselves in future generations. Since reading it (combined with a nearer-term vision presented in the movie "Gattaca") I find the subject fascinating - both in a happy "futuristic" way, but also with some sadness for my children that will have to navigate through a more complex world as these technologies increasingly influence our lives.

I dont think this book would be to everyones taste, but I loved it!!
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