Sci-fi book about plant life overrunning USA

grumba

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I read this in a Florida library in about 2001. I thought the title was something like The Genesis Engine or something but have never been able to find it. The first name of author was maybe Pierre?

The plot premise: something has made all the creatures and plants of America hyper-evolve and turned it into an overrun zone of insane life, so people have decamped to Europe.

  • It was a novel
  • It was written in English
  • The book is not: Alas, Babylon or The Death of Grass
 
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Ogma

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Sounds like Greener Than You Think by Ward Moore.
 

grumba

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@Ogma That book looks interesting, but unfortunately that wasn't it. Thanks for pointing me toward it, though!
 

Ravensquawk

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Well, this is a really long shot. When your memory flings up a story you’ll never forget just because of bits in a description only sorta match its details but memory nonetheless throws it in your face, it happens.

Because, sometimes, memory jumbles details from several different stories, or we wouldn’t have these question boards, eh?

Even more odd, it’s a novel series I haven't read, expanded from the short story I’ll never forget.

I keep wondering how “Evolution's Shore” by Ian Mcdonald might match a vague title recollection (not quite “Genesis”), and how the the alien life that begins not terraforming, but xenoforming, Earth by changing it an the nanometer level, might match “hyper-evolving”.

Mismatch: it occurs in Kenya, not the Americas.

Mismatch: and since it will keep on changing all living matter on Earth, going to Europe would only delay the inevitable. No escape. It’s worse than The Pods.

“Evolution’s Shore” was titled "Chaga" outside of the USA. It was part of the "Chaga Saga" by McDonald.

Why carry on about a novel I haven’t yet read: it is an expansion of McDonald’s unforgettable story “Recording Angel” in the anthology completely about nanotechnology, "Nanotech" edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois in 2000.
(Which also contains "Blood Music". And yeah I had to answer with this in another long shot on another SF forum.)

The “recording angel” refers to the journalist named Gaby.

It is such a long shot that I only answered because of
(1) the vagaries of memory on the part of those asking “what story is this?” and
(2) the very slight matches walloped my memory with an unforgettable story.
 

grumba

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@Ravensquawk Thank you for the detailed response! Your enthusiasm makes me want to read the book, and I'll add it to my list :)

Unfortunately, that's not the one I'm thinking of. The book was definitely North American, not set in Africa.
 

Danny McG

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. I thought the title was something like The Genesis Engine or something but have never been able to find it

Regarding "Recording" Angel and a Genesis connection:-

McDonald said of the novel (Wikipedia quote):-

"The image of the unstoppable wave of transformation was nicked from The Wrath of Khan: it's the Genesis device, slowed down, and once I had that, it became a rich source of metaphors: for colonialism, new technology, globalisation, change, death."
 

Ravensquawk

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I didn't need to start a new word that is improper, out of ignorance of etymology.

"Terraforming" is proper, because "terra-" and "form" are both Latin.

I will stop using my Greek-Latin jumble of the word "xenoform", and use the word based on Greek root words, "xenomorph".

Once it started actually happening to us like in the story, it would become a verb, not just the Alien in "Alien".

It could become more relevant and less science fiction as we, er, "progress": if we want to terraform other planets, then what's to stop other races, or nanotechnology, from doing their version of it to Earth?


("It's 'octopodes', Grasshopper.")
 

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