Information about the author.
Before he met the brilliant, hypnotic child Milena, Alex Sharkey had never played with “dolls”—blue-skinned, gengineered lifeforms designed for work, amusement, or destruction. But the underground gene-hacker is seduced by a megalomaniacal little girl’s dream of providing the soulless genetic constructs with free thought and a future-and he unwittingly unleashes a plague of madness on the world. Now there’s a void in his life and memory that must be refilled, but it means pursuing the dangerous sentient species he helped sire from the ruins of a Magic Kingdom through a wasted Europe. It is Alex Sharkey’s last chance and the last hope remaining for a once-dominant human race.
Twenty-third century Earth, ravaged by climate change, looks backwards to the holy ideal of a pre-industrial Eden. Political power has been grabbed by a few powerful families and their green saints. Millions of people are imprisoned in teeming cities; millions more labour on Pharaonic projects to rebuild ruined ecosystems.
On the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the Outers, descendants of refugees from Earth’s repressive regimes, have constructed a wild variety of self-sufficient cities and settlements: scientific utopias crammed with exuberant creations of the genetic arts; the last outposts of every kind of democratic tradition. The fragile detente between the Outer cities and the dynasties of Earth is threatened by the ambitions of the rising generation of Outers, who want to break free of their cosy, inward-looking pocket paradises, colonise the rest of the Solar System, and drive human evolution in a hundred new directions. …[more]
2026: A strange fungus-like organism is growing in the Pacific Ocean, threatening Earth’s entire food chain. Christened “the slick,” this bizarre lifeform contains alien DNA that may have come from the planet Mars. Dr. Mariella Anders is recruited by NASA to join an urgent mission to the Red Planet to search for life beneath Mars’ polar icecap—and perhaps uncover the secret of the slick. But whom can she trust to safeguard one of the greatest scientific discoveries in human history?
In these nine exraordinary tales, acclaimed author Paul J. Mcauley—winner of the Philip K. Dick, British Fantasy Society, John W. Campbell Memorial, and Aruthur C. Clarke Awards—explores the wonders and dangers of biotechnology and its creations in stories whose settings careen from a distant alternate past to a breathtaking far-flung future.
In a sixteenth-century Venice, transformed by a premature Industrial Revolution, a physian mourning his daughter’s passing meets a mountebank with the power to raise the dead. In a tomorrow of raw and terrible beauty, revolutionaries struggle to free genetically engineered creatrues fated to die in combat games and violent sexual encounters. And ten million years in the future, on an artificial world orbiting an immense black hole, a civilization of awesome strangeness and complexity created—and abandoned—by the Godlike Preservers is about to meet the human ancestors of its makers.
In a grim and wondrous industrial age of artists, princes, and philosophers, a struggling painter follows his elusive angel through the twisting, soot-stained streets of Florence…and into a world of deceits, dark magics, and murder.
On the eve of the Medici Pope’s visit, an assassin has struck down an assistant to the immortal Raphael, the great Florentine Republic’s most renowned personage. It is a crime that draws a young artist named Pasquale and the brilliant, alcoholic investigative reporter Niccolo Machiavegli into the deepest shadows of their gray, steam-driven city-where there are fouler deaths to follow…and grave intrigues of war, witchcraft, and science that could lead the world-weary journalist and his unwitting companion heavenward or to Hell.
For Dorthy Yoshida—abused earthborn Talent and prime player in the secret history of the galaxy—the seeds of destiny were sown a million years in the past…when a giant sun exploded and vast civilizations died in the subsequent blood feuding of ten thousand alien family nations. Or perhaps it all began a dozen years before her birth—when a Greater Brazilian flyby drone was destroyed above a red dwarf star, drawing an uncomprehending human race into a thousand-millennia-old genocidal conflict that was not their own.
And now Dorthy’s extraordinary mental ability to touch the past and the future has made her the pawn of a wealthy immortal’s vengeance—rocketing her to the black hole at the core of the galaxy, and into the perilous heart of a fanatical religious sect’s relentless search for hidden gods. For it is here that the final battle must ultimately be fought against a fearsome,…[more]