usagi ☆ミ's Reviews > Seed

Seed by Rob Ziegler
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Aug 28, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, arc-galley, net-galley, tomorrowland, post-end-of-the-world, reviewed, biopunk
Read from September 22 to November 04, 2011

If there's something that we definitely need more of as a sub-genre in adult sci-fi these days, it's biopunk. "Seed" delivers it, and delivers it hard with a delicious side of dystopian almost-post-America. "Seed" is intensely creepy while being both surrealistic and incredibly realistic at the same time. If you're looking for something new in sci-fi to wet your whistle, this is it.

The realism of a broken America complete with the breakdown of the central government, FEMA somewhat in charge (and obviously failing the people), while admitting that it's only in control to "distribute (Satori's) seed" to the newly-migratory American people was like a punch to the gut. It's so very disturbingly possible, and with Ziegler's brief, punchy style it kind of hits each point home without wasting words or energy. It really feels like Katrina one hundred times worse in terms of politics and tragedy, and it makes you ring hollow inside with how awful it is. At least, that's what it did to me. That's definitely a sign of awesome writing, if ever there was one.

All of America is now at the mercy of Satori, a bioagra-genetics company started by four guys (who picked the name "Satori" not because they're Japanese but because it sounded good to consumers), who create Designers, post-humans who create more post-humans to keep up the Satori empire (by creating weather-resistant plant seeds, hence the title), Designing more and more to keep it alive. In particular, it is mainly the journey of post-human Designer Sumedha (and to a lesser part, his sister/wife) to make sure the empire of Satori survives, no matter what. It is the journey through his grief and madness when his sister/wife defects, trying to "Connect" with other siblings, only to find despair at not being able to match up with them as perfectly as he did his twin. And on America's side, it is the joint journey of Agent Doss and migrant ex-La Chupecabra gang member, Brood, and how they meet in order to stop the spread of Satori and try to get America back up and running again in terms of being able to feed its own people. All of these characters finally meet in the end, and it's extremely explosive. It will leaving you thinking hard about how our environment and government are starting to break down now - and all of the what-ifs that may happen in the future. I definitely had a deep period of reflection about all of this because it shook me so much.

There are four main POVs (all written in 3rd-close), so the book is a bit hard to keep track of at first, but once things really start getting going around 1/4th of the way in, it's quite easy to track who is who and where is where, what is what. I found the descriptions of the living empire of Satori extremely creepy, but it was well worth it. I haven't seen a more creative use of biopunk in a very long time. It's one of those really neglected but awesome sub-genres that desperately needs new blood pumped into it (much like steampunk got that boost a few years ago). This version of a broken America that's not even a century in the future is just so eerily possible that I did have nightmares about it after completing the book, and about the Designer's creatures (especially the Advocates) chasing me in them.

The way Ziegler put together all of these sub-genres really worked. Biopunk and dystopia put together is usually a win-win scenario, but when you put current real politics into it, it gets even better. I just really enjoyed this read, even if it scared the hell out of me. So go ahead and give this one a try, guys. Biopunk needs some more love. Won't you feed it?

(posted to goodreads, shelfari, and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com)
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11/03/2011 page 72
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07/10/2016 marked as: read

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