Friday, 30 March 2001

Brian Stableford: Architects of Emortality (1999)

Edition: Tor, 1999
Review number: 792

In most trilogies, each novel continues more or less directly from the previous one, with many of the same characters. There is, however, a lengthy gap between Inherit the Earth and Architects of Emortality. In this time, big advances have been made in the use of microscopic robots (nanotech) and genetic manipulation of embryos to increase the human lifespan. Everyone can expect to live two or three hundred years, and this has brought huge changes.

Like Inherit the Earth, this novel is a murder mystery, with very old men being killed by genetically engineered flowers delivered by a beautiful young woman (even by the standards of a time when body image and facial appearance are changed according to fashion). The motives for the murders lie deep in the past, when most of the victims worked on some aspect of the research which moulded the world imagined by Stableford, making them "architects of emortality".

The tone is lighter than in the earlier novel, with little jokes like the names of the investigating police officers, Holmes and Watson., It doesn't have the sense of significance of Inherit the Earth, either. The plot is more important, though the setting is still interesting. The earlier novel is better, but this is still a highly readable piece of speculation.

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