Ambling Along
the Aqueduct

The Cascadia
Subduction Zone

The Aqueduct Bulletin

Subscribe to our

Catalog for 2023

Our Mission


PO Box 95787
Seattle, WA 98145-2787

Gaia's Toys

by Rebecca Ore

$7.95 (e-book) EPUB
 Add to Cart
 Add to Cart

A tale of eco-terrorism set in a dystopian near future of gene-manipulation, medical nanotechnology, and environmental damage; an examination of the risks of overpopulation and uncontrolled technological expansion. This action adventure story is filled with theoretical political ideas. The main characters are a collection of misfits whose lives are linked together through a scientist’s experiments in ecological reconstruction: a species of giant mantises that treat their anxiety stressed human companions with tranquilizing pheromones; and bioengineered wasps drawn to human anger and conflict in order to sting the offenders into a sleep state. Humans manipulate earth's creatures as if they were toys while the bio-altered creatures transform us.


This ambitious tale of eco-terrorism from the author of Slow Funeral is a sweet and sour mix. Though extremely exciting on the action-adventure level, and rich in ideas of political philosophy, it offers inadequate character motivation and falls short of building a seamless, wholly believable future world. The story binds three main characters. Willie, a "drode head" with a hardwired skull, works for the government and owns a bio-engineered pet mantis; Allison, an eco-terrorist, is captured and turned by the feds after her Green friends dupe her into setting off a baby nuke; Dorcas, the scientist who created the mantis, is trying to design bugs that will be even more ecologically stimulating. Despite bouts of muddy writing, the energy behind Ore's takes on the ecological problems of our near future--including the dangers of overpopulation and uncontrolled technological expansion--render this a vital, thought-provoking novel.
   —Sybil S. Steinberg, Publishers Weekly, (1995)

Thanks to its brilliant, macabre vision of America's not-too-distant future, Ore's new novel puts her squarely in the ranks of such leading-edge sf talent as William Gibson and Neal Stephenson. The twenty-first century she imagines brings--along with bioengineered nanoviruses that keep the rich perpetually young and mandatory cyberspace brain hookups for the poor (for human brains, it turns out, are cheaper than computer brains for running menial programs)--a ruthless caste of eco-terrorists whose latest strike wipes out a score of oil refineries with a miniature nuclear bomb. One terrorist named Allison, aka Mattie Higgins, is nabbed before the explosion, interrogated with high-tech brain probes, and cleverly drafted as an undercover infiltrator for the government. Her new objective: to catch an outlaw gene-tweaker who is breeding insects capable of drugging humans into pacifism. Using three ingeniously different points of view, Ore fuses slick and absorbing storytelling with sophisticated speculative science.
   —Carl Hays, Booklist, (1995)

ISBN: 978-1-61976-033-2 (13 digit)
Publication Date: Feb 2013