‘Up there with the best of Le Guin in terms of beautiful, engrossing, brilliantly imagined sci-fi’
‘SEMIOSIS combines the world-building of Avatar with the alien wonder of Arrival, and the sheer humanity of Atwood. An essential work for our time’
NOMINATED FOR THE ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD
Escaping conflict on Earth, an idealistic group of settlers arrive on a distant planet – Pax – with plans for a perfect society.
The world they discover is rich with life, but this is not the Eden they were hoping for. The plants on Pax are smart – smart enough to domesticate, and even slaughter, its many extraordinary animals.
To survive, the colonists realize that they must strike bargains of their own. But if they are to make Pax their home, they must go further, searching for a way to communicate and coexist with these utterly alien intelligences.
BEST BOOKS OF 2018 – THRILLIST, VULTURE, THE VERGE, CHICAGO REVIEW OF BOOKS, NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
LOCUS RECOMMENDED READING LIST 2018
‘This is top class SF, intelligent and engaging and I loved every moment of it’
Adrian Tchaikovsky, award-winning author of CHILDREN OF TIME
‘Sue Burke blends science with adventure and fascinating characters, as a human colony desperately seeks to join the ecosystem of an alien world.’
David Brin, award-winning author of THE POSTMAN
‘A magnetic meditation on biochemistry and humanity’
‘A clever, fascinating, fun and unique debut’
About the author
Sue Burke spent many years working as a reporter and editor for a variety of newspapers and magazines. A Clarion workshop alumnus, Burke has published more than thirty short stories in addition to working extensively as a literary translator. She now lives in Chicago.
Translator Burke takes new science and drives it to the logical extreme for her impressive debut novel, a classic multigenerational story of space exploration and colonization. When scientists on a colonizing mission veer off course and land on the distant planet of Pax, they run up against the sentient native flora. Intrigue and secrets divide the generations, and the efforts to commune with the plants on Pax take on a cultish quality. Communication is at the heart of the story: debates among the human colonists, the intricacies of plant communication, and the challenge of reaching across the species divide. Burke's writing is as lush as the environment of Pax; her characters show considerable depth, and she unflinchingly captures the horrors of space exploration. She has rendered an alien planet in beautiful, believable detail. Fans of space adventure will eagerly await Burke's future books.
This was one of those books I looked forward to reading at the end of the day and would sneak a few pages reading off my phone whenever I got chance in between. I liked how it felt like several different volumes and each one works in its own right. I’d happily have read a three times longer book with more of the earlier stages of their world.