Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
Seed Hardcover – November 8, 2011
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"one of the best SF novels I've read this year." -Tor.com
"impressive debut...imaginative world-building, vivid writing." -Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Richly developed characters, a stark believable world...thoughtful and entertaining speculative fiction." -New York Journal of Books
About the Author
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Seed is a book with a lot of promise, but unfortunately, it fails to live up to all of it. Let me begin by saying: don't mistake me. It's a good book, it's simply not a great one.
As a exercise in ideas and potential, it is absorbing, and there are a lot of directions it could have taken. As a stand-alone novel, I think it went in the right direction story-wise, but the problem in its execution was two-fold: poor editing and unfortunately shallow characters.
Seed is post-apocalyptic sci-fi centered in a world where climate change has run amok and brought about a second dust bowl. It's the 22nd century (so, first of all: hurray! We made it to the 22nd century!), and as the residents of America struggle through a perpetual migrant existence, a corporation has risen to the top of the food chain (literally). Satori manufactures climate-resistant seed to feed humanity, while doing predictably darker things behind the scenes.
The nomadic life and particularly the incorporation of many Hispanic and other multiracial characters and themes (characters and themes tragically skipped over in many fantasy and scifi works) lends a unique air to things that immediately piqued my interest. Mexican slang and a decent amount of the dialogue is in (pretty easy to figure out) Spanish. These characters also come with, what appears to be, a rich amount of background to draw from: a special-needs brother, traumatic family situations, military backgrounds, partner/love interests.
Unfortunately, while many of the characters seem to think "about" these things, we rarely get any depth to them. We get quick glimpses, but much of the writing style is just that--quick-paced, never seeming to want to dwell too long on any one particular point. In that regard, at least there's no "bog down," but we also sacrifice an emotional and sensory complexity that might have otherwise pulled us deeper into the depths of Ziegler's world.
If you want action, you will have plenty. That is one thing that is never sacrificed, and generally speaking, if there's going to be an action scene, there are going to be consequences. You will feel for the characters therein; largely because you may be about to lose some of those you quite liked. The character Doss is typically the star of these particular scenes, and while she could have been something more, unfortunately, her role largely is to be the "action star" of the book, while the character Brood gives us the more human angle of things, as well as experiences some actual growth.
The writer is obviously skilled, with a lot of ideas, but the editing is not great. I mean this in several ways.
1. While post-apocalyptic settings aren't necessarily grounded in the scientific, sci-fi has a strong tradition of bearing up that undertone, and particularly where we are getting into genetically modified crops, seemingly organic cities, and clones, we somehow weave through them all with very little explanation. There was no "grounding."
2. Furthermore, it's not uncommon to happen across things like "souls of their feet" and skin "pealing" off, grammatical and spelling errors, as well as a great many reused bits of language to describe certain happenings. A solid editor could've corrected many of these, and while taken individually one might say, "Things happen," the fact that there are so many really does add up over time.
In all, this book can be choppy at times and it's nothing that's going to knock your socks off, but for a couple days' entertainment, it's a fun and active stroll through the wasteland. It has its issues, but Seed is worth a read.
A pretty good starting point.
However, very few characters generate any warmth. Brood, a southwestern migrant, and Colonel Whatshername (I really don't care enough to look it up), a US agent dropped in to salvage a bad situation, are the best we got. They move the plot and you know you are supposed to feel something about them, but they are too remote even as they heroically persevere. At least there is humanity. The genetically engineered people care about little but their research and their own kind. Certainly not other people. They are not human in a way that we would recognize.
So the ideas are interesting, the setting unique and unsettling but the overall effect was that I had to make myself finish it. Make a low 3 stars.
"If The Windup Girl had been born in the American Southwest, and had had the genes of Akira spliced to it in utero, you'd have something like Seed, a gritty, sobering story about the fallout of climate change. When Seed hits it hits hard, but there are parts that are surprisingly tender. The writing is intricate and bright, the plot sings, and through fascinating extrapolation, Ziegler has created a world that feels foreign and familiar both. The bottom line? Seed is a bold and welcome edition to the rising tide of ecopunk."
Beyond this, what I can say is that Seed is a book that constantly challenges you. It's inventive and immersive. The world feels consistent and fascinating. I haven't gotten a feel from a book like this in a while. The last time I recall feeling this sort of wonder was when I'd read William Gibson for the first time.
For those that like their sci-fi with a harrowing plot and characters that live and breath, Give seed a try. You'll be glad you did.