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Marseguro: a Reader’s Review

What would you do if genetic sculpting (genesculpting) became possible? Marseguro, by Edward Willett, explores a future where genetics assumes epic proportions.

Marseguro is the name of a planet secretly colonized by a group of fugitives fleeing from an intolerant theocracy. The Selkies, a race of genetically modified humans, suffered under the hand of the Body Purified, who believe in the sanctity of the human genome and viciously persecute any who disagree or who have been modified. When the Body comes into earthwide political power, the Selkies are forced to flee with their creator, Victor Hansen.

The story begins fifty years after their exodus. The Selkies thrive on the water world Marseguro, free even to explore aesthetic pursuits such as art and theater in a uniquely Maseguroite manner. However, human Chris Keating begins the story by plotting to betray his fellow colonists to the Body Purefied.

Marseguo is a richly realized story, blending together older SF tropes such as interstellar travel and colonizing planets with newer ideas like genetics and string theory. (If you’re wondering where string theory comes into the story, here’s a hint: Willett did not misspell ‘brane’.)

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and have already ripped into the sequel Terra Insegura, which is similarly enjoyable. Marseguro has a strong plot, well developed society and believable technology. What I feel lacking, in my opinion, is characterization. The main characters Emily Wood the Selkie, Richard Hansen (grandson of geneticist Victor Hansen and pawn of the Body Purified), Archbishop Cheveldoff, and Chris Keating of course all behave in a believable manner, but lack a depth to their character that would have added far more drama. Ultimately there is nothing wrong with this. Stories are either character driven or plot driven. Edward Willett has crafted an excellent plot driven story that was easy and enjoyable to read. I would certainly recommend Marseguro to anyone who enjoys SF.

This is my first review of Marseguro, aimed particularly at readers. Soon I’ll post a review that focuses on this book from a writer’s perspective.

Categories: reviews
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  1. September 18, 2009 at 3:16 pm

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