Involution Ocean - In this far-future reimagination of Moby-Dick, a desperate addict on a bleak and arid planet joins the crew of a whaling vessel to hunt the source of the drug he craves
The powerful narcotic syncophine, commonly known as Flare, comes from only one source: the oil of the gargantuan whale-like beasts that swim the dust sea of Nullaqua. It was John Newhouse’s addiction to the substance that made him a dealer and forced him to move to this airless, inhospitable planet But when the all-powerful galactic Confederacy declares Flare illegal, the needs of Newhouse and his clientele leave the desperate off-worlder no choice but to sign on as an able seaman aboard a dustwhaler and hunt the giant creatures himself. Joining a crew of junkies and misfits, including a mad captain with his own dark and secret agenda and a bewitching, batlike alien woman who is pained by human touch, Newhouse sets out across the silica ocean at the bottom of a seventy-mile-deep crater in search of release and redemption . . . and sails toward a fateful confrontation between man and beast that could lead to catastrophe.
Bruce Sterling’s debut novel is a remarkable feat of world building—imaginative, provocative, and smart, featuring an unforgettable cast of colorful characters. If Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick unfolded on Frank Herbert’s Dune, the result might be something akin to Sterling’s extraordinary Involution Ocean.
“An absolutely stunning tour de force.” —Harlan Ellison
“Sterling has expanded my mind. . . . He’s better than drugs—there’s none of the nasty side-effects.” —John Shirley, screenwriter of The Crow
“Sterling joins the ranks of those daring science fiction creators who invent futures of startling complexity.” —Locus Bruce Sterling is an American author and one of the founders of the cyberpunk science fiction movement. He began writing in the 1970s; his first novel, Involution Ocean, about a whaling ship in an ocean of dust, is a science fictional pastiche of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. His other works, including his series of stories and a novel, Schismatrix, set in the Shaper/Mechanist universe, often deal with computer-based technologies and genetic engineering. His five short story collections and ten novels have earned several honors: a John W. Campbell Award, two Hugo Awards, a Hayakawa’s SF Magazine Reader’s Award, and an Arthur C. Clarke Award. Sterling has also worked as a critic and journalist, writing for Metropolis, Artforum, Icon, MIT Technology Review, Time, and Newsweek, as well as Interzone, Science Fiction Eye, Cheap Truth, and Cool Tools. He edits Beyond the Beyond, a blog hosted by Wired.
Sterling is also involved in the technology and design community. In 2003 his web-only art piece, Embrace the Decay, was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and became the most-visited piece in the museum’s digital gallery. He has taught classes in design at the Gerrit Reitveld Academie in Amsterdam, Centro in Mexico City, Fabrica in Treviso, Italy, and the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. Sterling lives in Austin, Texas; Belgrade, Serbia; and Turin, Italy.