Hey readers! It’s been a long time since I did this meme, so long that I think the original site has disappeared. But I’m happy to keep it alive, so I want to present a stand alone book to you. Sometimes we get so into all the series and so excited for the next book to come out that discovering a new series is great. Other times it seems like it’s really hard to keep track of what happened in the last book, so a single title with NO SEQUEL is an absolutely perfect thing.
The Genius Plague by David Walton
THE CONTAGION IS IN YOUR MIND
“In this science fiction thriller, brothers are pitted against each other as a pandemic threatens to destabilize world governments by exerting a subtle mind control over survivors.”
I picked this one up because I had really enjoyed his previous book, Superposition. Without going into that one too much (and it does have a sequel, which I have not yet read), it’s all about quantum mechanics and a murder. This one is about a new and terrifying way that world might end.
“Neil Johns has just started his dream job as a code breaker in the NSA when his brother, Paul, a mycologist, goes missing on a trip to collect samples in the Amazon jungle. Paul returns with a gap in his memory and a fungal infection that almost kills him. But once he recuperates, he has enhanced communication, memory, and pattern recognition. Meanwhile, something is happening in South America; others, like Paul, have also fallen ill and recovered with abilities they didn’t have before.
But that’s not the only pattern–the survivors, from entire remote Brazilian tribes to American tourists, all seem to be working toward a common, and deadly, goal. Neil soon uncovers a secret, and unexplained alliance between governments that have traditionally been enemies while Paul is becomes increasingly secretive and erratic.
Paul sees the fungus as the next stage of human evolution, while Neil is convinced that it is driving its human hosts to destruction. Brother must oppose brother on an increasingly fraught international stage, with the stakes: the free will of every human on earth. Can humanity use this force for good, or are we becoming the pawns of an utterly alien intelligence?”
This book has so many complex and interesting themes in it – the nature of intelligence, our relationship with the environment, the family debts we all carry, Western privilege, and the hive mind. I will admit that I thought Neil was a little too good to be true sometimes, but I was willing to overlook that because the story was so compelling. If you are not normally a science fiction reader, this might be a little intimidating in places, but it read like a spy thriller as well as science fiction. I loved the tough major that Neil works for. In fact, there are a lot of great female characters in here.
I bought this on Kindle when it went on sale and it was definitely worth the money. Give this author a try.