"Let Keith Brooke tell his tale in its cogent fullness. It is beyond any facile summary, 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.
"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
British author Brooke's engrossing far-future parable intertwines old, old human questions: Who am I? Where am I? Where am I going? Must I go? After centuries of biotechnology gone berserk, "True" humans inhabit a land of mortal fears where a chance microbe or the changing vats of their enemies can dehumanize them forever. "Mutts," grotesque "Lost" subhumans, outwardly devote themselves to their True masters, though like pre Civil War slaves, the mutts secretly talk of finding "Harmony," freedom from their inborn servitude. Flint, a True human, leaves his clan to find his rebellious sister, Amber, sold by their abusive father into a horrifying slavery. Though he dreads change, Flint himself passes through successive fragments of a degenerate civilization, first adopting the Lordsway of the gentle religious Riverwalkers, then becoming a "Watchman" in an army bent on purging the Lost from the world. In this impressively conceived, poignantly drawn object lesson in the implacability of mutability, Brooke (Lord of Stone) posits one constant: that only change is eternal.