Anthropocene Rag

Tor.com. Mar. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9781250269270. pap. $14.99. SF
This fascinating sf Western is set in a future that brings together American myths, nanotechnology, and a ruined United States with some intense climate change outcomes. The Boom, an ever-changing sentient nanotech power that changes people’s everyday reality, has taken control: one woman’s foster parents were killed when the Boom instantly and without warning made a greenhouse they frequented into a baseball stadium. An AI unit who goes by Prospector Ed, complete with the push-broom mustache and gold mining outfit, is on a mission to understand where he comes from, and collects a handful of young adults from across America to give out Willy Wonka–style golden tickets to the legendary Monument City. The tickets help the varied group escape from the Boom and other AI units who want to turn them into part of the myths they are playing out. They must fight terrain and monsters created by the Boom in an ever-changing landscape.
VERDICT Irvine (A Scattering of Jades) has created an interesting yet horrifying world where nanotechnology meets a destroyed Earth. Though tagged as a sf Western, it will also please fans of future apocalyptic novels.

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