|Plot Summary of The Secret Of Life|
Tor, Jun 2001, 25.95, 413 pp.
In 2026, humanity faces a new crisis. There is a humongous biological growth in the Pacific that threatens to destroy the food chain. NASA believes that the Slick is a result of a find by the Chinese on the Martian polar cap. Microbiologist Mariella Anders joins a team of scientists investigating the Martian northern icecap to determine what the Chinese actually uncovered.
However, the idealistic Mariella must contend with bottom line scientist Penn Brown of Cytex, who wants to monopolize whatever is discovered, especially the means to eradicate Slick. On Mars, the Chinese team working at the site where the organism was originally found flees the area as they are now contaminated. The NASA team finds samples of the original organism and Mariella makes a desperate effort to return them to earth, alienating Cytex, the Chinese, and NASA.
THE SECRET OF LIFE is an engaging science fiction novel that once again shows how talented Paul McAuley is in getting his message across within an entertaining plot. Mr. McAuley rips extremists on either side of scientific discovery through his intrepid lead character. The greed and the ban without debate types are skewered and ridiculed for their intolerance towards the common good. However, the secret to what enables Mr. McAuley's books (see his Confluence stories) so good is he rips skin, but does so inside a believable, terse futuristic tale.
This synopsis report prepared by Harriet Klausner
|Chapter Analysis of The Secret Of Life|
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?
- science fiction story
Explore/1st contact/ enviro story
- preventing an ecological disaster
- info about lifeform(s)/society/phenomena
Is this an adult or child's book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
A substantial portion of this book takes place on a non-Earth planetary body:
- empty, or nearly empty world
Planet outside solar system?
Accounts of torture and death?
- no torture/death
scientific jargon? (SF only)
- a fair amount of scientific explanation
How much dialogue?
- roughly even amounts of descript and dialog
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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