"An exceptional new talent in children's literature."—Waterstone's Books Quarterly on Nick Gifford

Genetopia

Genetopia

(Most recent edition: December 2012; infinity plus. Pyr Books, hardback, February 2006.)

Genetopia

"A minor masterpiece that should usher Brooke at last into the recognized front ranks of SF writers" (Locus)

The village: a close-knit community where everyone knows everyone else. Here, houses can be grown out of the dirt; livestock and the sub-human mutts can be changed into something else, something other; and fleshy, drastically mutated Oracles guide humankind on the delicate path of survival.

The wildlands: the land between human settlements where animals that are not animals live among plants that are not plants, and people who might not be people live in fear of human intervention. Out here organic AIs grow in the wildlands, either worshiped or feared; trees sing to each other; and tempting, dark fruit hang from the branches. Out here nothing can be trusted, nothing is necessarily as it seems, and no sane human would ever want to set foot.

Out here is Flint's missing sister.

Genetopia is the story of a young man in search of his possibly abducted sister in a far future where nano- and biotechnology have transformed and accelerated the evolution of humans and their strangely altered surroundings. In this world, you can never take anything - or anyone - at face value. Illness and contact with the unknown are always to be feared, as viruses re-engineer genes and germ cells, migrating traits from species to species through plague and fever. Humankind lives in isolated communities, connected by trade routes, and always fighting to keep the unclean at arm's length.

But if Flint is to find his sister he must brave the fevers, the legendary beasts, the unknown. He must enter strange communities and seek help in the most unlikely places. He must confront both his own dark past and the future of his kind.

He must go into the wildlands.

Flint's story is the story of the last true humans, and of the struggles between those who want to defend their heritage and those who choose to embrace the new. But Flint doesn't see it like that: he just wants to find his sister.


"A minor masterpiece that should usher Brooke at last into the recognized front ranks of SF writers" (Locus)

"I am so here! Genetopia is a meditation on identity - what it means to be human and what it means to be you - and the necessity of change. It's also one heck of an adventure story. Snatch it up!"
Michael Swanwick, Hugo award-winning author of Bones of the Earth

"Keith Brooke's Genetopia is a biotech fever dream. In mood it recalls Brian Aldiss's Hothouse, but is a projection of twenty-first century fears and longings into an exotic far future where the meaning of humanity is overwhelmed by change. Masterfully written, this is a parable of difference that demands to be read, and read again."
Stephen Baxter, Philip K Dick award-winning author of Evolution and Transcendent

"Keith Brooke's prose achieves a rare honesty and clarity, his characters always real people, his situations intriguing and often moving."
Jeff VanderMeer

"Genetopia is quite remarkably fascinating."
John Clute

Author's note

This one was a long time coming. It dates back to my second professional sale, a story called 'Passion Play' which was published in Robert Holdstock and Christopher Evans' Other Edens III back in 1989. As soon as I wrote that story I knew I had to explore its warped future of accelerated and distorted evolution at novel-length. I spent over a decade thinking about it, before finally writing it and finding a publisher. Of course, the finished novel bears almost no resemblance whatsoever to the story that triggered it.

Samples

The original story, "Genetopia", was written to explore the novel's background - having spent years doing the research and thinking it through, I wanted to get into that world! This story went online at infinity plus in February 2006.

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