I don’t want to tell you guys anything about this book, because every time I thought I had figured out where it was going, it surprised me. It was SO GOOD. But I was ferociously hooked within the first two chapters, so I’m only going to recap the very beginning. It feels very spoilery, because a LOT happens, but seriously – there’s so much more!
It’s a bazillion years in the future, and the Earth is dying. Humans have borked things up beyond repair, and are now sending out colony ships and desperately trying to terraform other planets. One ship has a remarkable mission: scientists have engineered a virus that speeds and enhances evolution. The plan is to launch a shuttle full of monkeys down to a planet, disperse the virus in the atmosphere, and hopefully by the time the colony ship full of the last of humanity gets there, they’ll have a built-in species of minions to help them out when they land. But a religious nutjob says only god can create intelligence, so he blows up the whole damn ship, monkeys included. The clever virus makes it down to the planet and does its thing, but without the monkeys, it gets to work evolving and enhancing…the native spiders.
Two thousand years later, the colony ship shows up. The captain of the original, blown-up science vessel has been alone, in and out of stasis, in her doomed ship’s escape pod. She has basically melded with the ship and its AI, and all of them are batshit insane, and she wants to destroy the colonists so they don’t mess up her experiment (which she doesn’t realize is not what she planned).
And that’s all I’m going to tell you. Except that it is SO GOOD. I have now NOT killed multiple spiders in my house, and have been naming them all Portia. Great characters, great writing, amazingly original. If you like sci-fi, or cleverness, or post-apocalyptic science, or heroic and desperate problem-solving for the fate of all mankind!!!, read this book. Even if you hate spiders (like moi), read this book.
(I totally forgot until right now – this was a recommendation from Georgia on My Favorite Murder. I know sometimes that podcast is a little divisive, but no matter what you think of it or its hosts, read this book!)