(Bantam, US$7, 372 pages, paperback; December 2003; ISBN: 0553586580.)
Rating: "A-". A gritty Stablefordian Cal-biotech
future, and an exceptionally fine first novel.
Clade is set 50 years after a catastrophic ecological collapse,
the 'ecocaust', a human-caused mass-extinction right up there with the
"Big 5" worst in Earth's history. Civilization was saved by heavy-handed
reengineering of the biosphere, but at a cost of billions of lives lost,
and a tightly-regimented social setup. Budz does a nice job of worldbuilding
in Clade, and handles the ambiguous costs and benefits of new
technology very well indeed.
" Clade is a very accomplished first novel -- indeed, it's
a very accomplished novel full stop. Budz's characters are well drawn,
the Californian setting is vivid, and, without preaching, he makes
some strong points about the fragility of our environment."
-- Graham Sleight, scifi.com
"Sure, Clade has bitchin' new biotech. Sure, Clade
has cool ideas and neat extrapolations and even funky AIs... But Clade
also has mothers who love their children, brothers who stand up for
each other, decent people trying to do the right thing, and a man
and a woman who refuse to let this strange new world change what is
most basic and human about them -- their love and respect for each
-- Lori Ann White, Strange
Decent hard-SF that makes a serious attempt to extrapolate the medium-term
future is never in oversupply. This is my favorite kind of SF, so I
was very pleased to discover Clade. There are, unsurprisingly,
some first-novel rough spots here, particularly with the thriller-style
plot, which suffers from some heavy-handed auctorial hammering-to-fit
-- but, hey, you'll happily put up with a few warts for the technically-sweet
payoffs in Clade. Budz is clearly an author to watch. A sequel,
Crache, is promised for Fall 2004. I'm looking forward to it.
Budz, a Silicon Valley technical writer with training in physics and
engineering, is married to respected fantasy writer Marina
Fitch. Fitch helped Budz polish his ms.: "Marina's good at characters
and finding loopholes in story consistency," he said.
Author website: www.markbudz.com
"Clade is an absorbing debut novel that, were it not for some
unfortunate holes in plot logic, would have been a genre groundbreaker
on the order of the best works by... William Gibson and Bruce Sterling..." --T.
M. Wagner, sfreviews.net
"I got the idea for bio-chemical mediated societies while reading
about ants and how they exchange chemicals," Budz said... "I thought,
'What if people were like that? And what if it were all tied into
social and economic differences?'" -- Santacruz
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