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Humankind's fate is at stake in a futuristic tale of an Earth bordering on ecological catastrophe from which the only escape is genetic adaptation or emigration to satellite cities in space. Reprint.
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Near/medium-future yarn involving genetic engineering, pollution, space habitats and espionage, from the author of The Face of the Waters (1991), etc. Victor Farkas, a genetically engineered eyeless man with compensating all-round proprioceptive vision, and also an agent of the giant Kyocera-Merck corporation, travels to the space habitat Valparaiso Nuevo seeking Dr. Wu, the genetics whiz who engineered his sight without eyes. Wu, who has hidden himself aboard the habitat, is required to help with physiological research concerning a new starship drive. Meanwhile, on dying, polluted Earth, another genetics whiz, Nick Rhodes, works for Samurai Industries to genetically engineer humans capable of breathing the poisonous fumes that soon will constitute Earth's only atmosphere. Meshoam Enron, an Israeli spy posing as a journalist, quizzes first Rhodes and, later, Farkas, intending to join a conspiracy aimed at capturing Valparaiso Nuevo. Rhodes's friend, Paul Carpenter, an ex iceberg-trawlerman with a flawed character, clashes with the distrustful Farkas; the planned attack on the habitat goes awry, killing Enron and Farkas. Rhodes, to prevent Samurai from gaining a monopoly, moves his operation to Kyocera-Merck; Carpenter gives up his eyes to become a starship pilot. The plentiful, well thought-out ideas and professionally engaging characters do not quite compensate for the strained plotting and feebly unsatisfying windup: an average outing for the veteran editor-writer, promising more than it delivers. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Silverberg's latest is his best novel in some time, returning from the extraterrestrial travelogues he offered in The Face of the Waters and Kingdoms of the Wall to Earth of the relatively near future, which has been polluted almost to uninhabitability. Even in the best areas, people wear breathing masks and inject a product called Screen, which darkens their skin as protection from the sun. Victor Farkas, operative of the megacorporation Kyocera-Merck Ltd., is blind but gifted with hypersensitive "blindsight." He comes to the massive orbital habitat Valparaiso Nuevo in search of a renegade geneticist of legendary skill. On Earth, Nick Rhodes wrestles with a midlife crisis and moral uncertainty as head of Samurai Industries, which is attempting to breed humans that can thrive in the horrendous conditions expected to prevail on Earth. Silverberg focuses on his characters and their ruined world, providing a convincing portrayal of life in a greenhouse effect-cursed future. In the background looms the efforts to save the human race, whether by emigration or transformation. The plot may tie up too neatly, but Silverberg delivers powerful images of a world blighted by ecological abuse, and a satisfying novel as well.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Bantam, 1995. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M058621108X