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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

       
Bloom

Copyright 1998 by Wil McCarthy

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (2/5)

I first read this in November 1999 and most recently in September 2001.

A hundred years in the future, humanity is all but extinguished. A "bloom" of out-of-control technogenic nano-organisms known as the "Mycora", voraciously consumed all animate and inanimate material. It enveloped first the Earth and then the inner planets.

The only survivors were those who fled in the first few hours of the spawning of the Mycora. Some degree of safety was finally found amid the asteroid belt and even further out.

On Ganymede, the journalist John Strasheim is recruited, rather to his surprise, to the flight crew of the Louis Pasteur, an interplanetary spaceship. This ship is designed to penetrate the Mycora of the inner planets and to drop probes so that at last humanity will have some idea of what has happened to the home worlds.

However, it's never so straightforward. There's less than unanimous agreement about the flight in the first place, there's sabotage both before and during the flight, and perhaps the probes aren't quite what they seem. Plus of course they come under increasingly-virulent attacks by the Mycora itself.

This is pretty good. I enjoyed it the first time I read it, but enjoyed it rather more second-time around. There are some very exciting episodes, some deep thinking and a little real emotion in a plot that smoothly covers a range of scale from personal interaction to space war.

Featuring of course the amazing "Game Of Life" created by John Conway. And if you don't know what that is about, but have any interest whatsoever in intelligence, cellular automata, life itself (whether natural or artificial) and evolution, then you simply have to find to out more. This is important information if you think at all about these topics.

Loaded on the 23rd September 2001.
    
Cover of Bloom
Cover by Ric Berry

Reviews of other work by Wil McCarthy
The Collapsium