Alongside William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling stands at the forefront of a select group of writers whose pitch-perfect grasp of the cultural and scientific zeitgeist endows their works of speculative near-future fiction with uncanny verisimilitude. To read a novel by Sterling is to receive a dispatch from a time traveler. Now, with The Caryatids, Sterling has written a stunning testament of faith in the power of human intellect, creativity, and spirit to overcome any obstacle–even the obstacles we carry inside ourselves.
The world of 2060 is divided into three spheres of influence, each fighting with the others over the resources of fallen nations and an environment degraded almost to the point of no return. There is the Dispensation, centered in Los Angeles, where entertainment and capitalism have fused with the highest of high-tech. There is the Acquis, a Green-centered collective that uses invasive neurological technology to create a networked utopia. And there is China, the sole surviving nation-state, a dinosaur that has prospered only by pitilessly pruning its own population. Products of this monstrous world, the daughters of a monstrous mother, and–according to some–monsters themselves, are the Caryatids: the four surviving female clones of a mad Balkan genius and wanted war criminal now ensconced, safely beyond extradition, on an orbiting space station. Radmila is a Dispensation star determined to forget her past by building a glittering, impregnable future. Vera is an Acquis functionary dedicated to reclaiming their home, the Croatian island of Mljet, from catastrophic pollution. Sonja is a medical specialist in China renowned for selflessly risking herself to help others. And Biserka is a one-woman terrorist network. The four “sisters” are united only by their hatred for their “mother”–and for one another.
When evidence surfaces of a coming environmental cataclysm, the Dispensation sends its greatest statesman–or salesman–John Montgomery Montalban, husband of Radmila, and lover of Vera and Sonja, to gather the Caryatids together in an audacious plan to save the world.
Bruce Sterling is an Austin-born science fiction writer and Net critic, internationally recognized as a cyberspace theorist who is also considered one of the forefathers of the cyberpunk movement in science fiction. He has won a John W. Campbell Award,… More about Bruce Sterling
“Sterling proves again that he understands technology’s present and future better than anyone in the field—and that he’s able to spin a gripping, compelling, mind-opening yarn whose sweep and majesty encompass all that humanity has to fear and hope for in the coming century. This isn’t just a novel, it’s a road map to humanity’s peaceful reconciliation with our mad, out-of-control technology.”—Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother
“Atour de force . . . Of all the horde of SF novels about clones written since that trope was pulled mewling from its artificial womb,The Caryatids is the first one that nails it.”—Benjamin Rosenbaum, author ofThe Ant King and Other Stories Praise for The Zenith Angle “Gleeful, shrewd, speculative, cynical, closely observed . . . The Zenith Angle offers wisdom and solace, thrills and laughter.”—Washington Post
“A comedic thriller for the Homeland Security era.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Not so much ripped straight from the headlines as it is an effort to process the blood, guts and greed of the new millennium . . . The entire novel is a setup for an extraordinary rant that reads as if the author had just taken over the podium at a hackers’ conference, fueled with tequila, frothing from ever pore.”—Salon