This month sees the paperback release of Pandora's Sisters in the US theoretically (though probably not actually, unless you ask them to order it) available in bookshops but definitely from Amazon.com.
Makes a dandy Christmas gift.
'You want to know who gave you your immortal soul? You want a personal relationship with God? Well, we found God. We've got God's private number. And so do you: imprinted a hundred trillion times once in every living cell in your big dripping corpus.'
So says a woman with a pole-axe pressed to her neck and the solution to the entire mystery of human existence clutched between her palms.
Two weeks earlier, she was just your average designer of AI for ultra-violent video games, hanging out with her pet chimp wondering how something as weird as human consciousness could have evolved through Darwinian selection.
But when a mysterious and disconcertingly attractive behavioral geneticist, and a hotshot cryptologist with strange religious affiliations, stroll into her life, looking for answers in the backwaters of the human genome . . . she soon finds herself on the run pursued by multiple squads of heavily-armed religious zealots, the Feds, and worse. All seek to obtain, or to suppress forever, the key to the revelatory stretch of DNA known as The Pandora Sequence. The outcome of their race to control this explosive secret will forever alter how humanity regards itself that is, if anyone lives long enough to tell the tale.
A recent reader, from Toronto, not actually Mandy, but rather a CBC correspondent, wrote: "Fantastic read. Seriously the book is fantastic . . . and just enough over my head to keep me interested. It was a slow day at work yesterday and all I wanted to do was take the book out and read it. And I love the fact that you're writing it from a chick's point of view, yet it is not sappy and soft." And how could two
million Torontonians be wrong?
Not the least bit coincidentally, I've also just built an E-Mailer Sender To-er function: just click on the little 'e-mail this'/envelope icon in the upper right, and shoot your latest favourite dispatch (like, perhaps, this one) off to all your peeps. Easier than falling off of a thing that's really easy to fall off of.
Finally, Dispatch from the Razor's Edge notes with sadness and shock the death of John Updike. No sturdier or more central pillar of the literary landscape could be imagined and his death is unbalancing. I'm not terribly well-read in Updike, and my experience with him was mixed I remember putting down one of the Rabbit novels; but I found Seek My Face to be just about the most glorious and luscious book-length piece of prose I've read. But there's little denying he was not only the most important living writer since Vonnegut went West but the long-reigning monarch of American letters. Le roi est morte.