Genie, Richard Powers
Richard Powers


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National Book Award winner Richard Powers («The Echo Maker," “Galatea 2.2,” “Generosity”) has been hailed as the smartest novelist of our time. Few writers have bridged the gap between art and science so compellingly, so passionately, and with such inimitable precision. In “Genie,” a short story of epic proportions, Powers goes sci-fi: he turns a failing relationship between a randy scientist and a staid statistician into a quest—not only for love and connection but for a way to connect to intelligent life in the universe.
Anca is an ambitious cellular biologist determined to be the first to defuse the microbial time bombs inside ever more fatal viruses. Warren works in numbers and codes. He follows the rules and likes it that way. When Anca uses the opportunity of a romantic camping trip to swipe samples of ancient bacteria from one of Yellowstone National Park’s fumaroles—bubbling pools filled with life more diverse than in a rainforest—Warren sees the writing on the wall: Anca will never behave. They break up, until Anca makes a discovery that is just too mind-blowing to handle alone. Could she have found proof of intelligent design, the signature of the creator himself? Or is it a message left by an unknown—and unearthly—life form?
The race that Anca and Warren embark on together will change everything they have ever believed or felt—about life, each other, and the mysteries of the cosmos.
Richard Powers is the author of ten novels, including “Galatea 2.2,” “Plowing in the Dark,” “The Echo Maker,” and “Generosity.” “The Echo Maker” won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Powers has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Historical Fiction. He lives in Illinois.
“Everybody else just talks about alienation, estrangement, and the unbearable lightness of being. [Powers] actually does something about them. … He will use everything we know from our higher brain functions about mind and body and art and longing, to find patterns and to close distances.” —John Leonard, The New York Review of Books
“Richard Powers is America’s greatest living novelist.” —Tom Bissell, Boston Review
“Bristlingly intelligent … Powers is a superb writer.” —Chicago Tribune
“One of the few younger American writers who can stake a claim to the legacy of Pynchon, Gaddis, and DeLillo.” —Gerald Howard, The Nation
“Most American novelists portray technology as scary stuff; they fill the sky with toxic clouds and screaming rockets. [Powers’s] best work … finds beauty in the process of scientific inquiry. The laboratory is as central to Powers as the sitting room is to Jane Austen; he loves placing brilliant characters inside a fluorescent incubator, then watching ideas hatch on the page.” —Daniel Zalewski, The New York Times
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