Debut novelist and biochemist Carole Stivers explores what it means to be a mother in 2049, after a U.S. attempt at stealth biowarfare goes awry and sets off a pandemic that has a team of scientists racing to ensure human survival on Earth. But when their best efforts fail, they must turn to their last resort: a plan to place genetically engineered children inside the cocoons of large-scale robots.
Debuting author Stivers, a biochemist, blends hard science, emotional relationships, and artificial intelligence to produce a chilling and realistic narrative. While the plot is compelling and thought-provoking, it is the characters that shine as they come to terms with their own mortality while simultaneously trying to ensure humanity’s survival. This story will appeal to readers who enjoy the cinematic style of Michael Crichton as well as those who may recall the unsettling combination of viruses and human evolution in Greg Bear’s Darwin’s Radio (1999).
Biochemist Stivers' propulsive debut novel...[cuts] between a small cadre of government scientists and their increasingly desperate attempts to derive a solution to the spread of the nanostructures and a child named Kai who wanders the deserts of Utah with his Mother in search of other child survivors like him. The format serves Stivers well, as it reveals the post-apocalyptic aftermath of the pandemic without giving away the secret to Kai's survival. This leads readers to invest seriously in the scientists ... And while some early dialogue has otherwise intelligent characters reiterating plot points for the reader's benefit...and one may wonder why only a few key people have been entrusted to handle an emergency of this magnitude, the sheer momentum and urgency of Stivers' prose will keep readers riveted to the page. Fast-paced plague fiction that weds realism and SF while posing truly profound questions about the nature of motherhood.
Biochemist Stivers’s sweeping, cinematic debut raises probing questions about the nature of family and human connection ... Each story line is emotionally resonant, leading to a devastating gut punch when they eventually collide. Stivers’s mythic vision and sound science will strike a chord with readers who fear for humanity’s future. This dystopia is painful, provocative, and ultimately infused with hope.