The Mountain in the Sea
‘I loved this novel’s brain and heart’
DAVID MITCHELL, AUTHOR OF CLOUD ATLAS
‘A first-rate speculative thriller, by turns fascinating, brutal, powerful, and redemptive’
JEFF VANDERMEER, AUTHOR OF ANNIHILATION
There are creatures in the water of Con Dao.
To the locals, they’re monsters.
To the corporate owners of the island, an opportunity.
To the team of three sent to study them, a revelation.
Their minds are unlike ours.
Their bodies are malleable, transformable, shifting.
They can communicate.
And they want us to leave.
When pioneering marine biologist Dr. Ha Nguyen is offered the chance to travel to the remote Con Dao Archipelago to investigate a highly intelligent, dangerous octopus species, she doesn’t pause long enough to look at the fine print. DIANIMA- a transnational tech corporation best known for its groundbreaking work in artificial intelligence – has purchased the islands, evacuated their population and sealed the archipelago off from the world so that Nguyen can focus on her research.
But the stakes are high: the octopuses hold the key to unprecedented breakthroughs in extrahuman intelligence and there are vast fortunes to be made by whoever can take advantage of their advancements. And no one has yet asked the octopuses what they think. And what they might do about it.
I loved this novel's brain and heart, its hidden traps, sheer propulsion, ingenious world-building and the purity of its commitment to luminous ideas. * David Mitchell, author of CLOUD ATLAS * The Mountain in the Sea is a first-rate speculative thriller, by turns fascinating, brutal, powerful, and redemptive. The book poses profound questions about artificial and nonhuman intelligence, and its answers are tantalizing and provocative. * Jeff VanderMeer, author of ANNIHILATION * Ray Nayler has taken on the challenge of a near future that's less certain than ever, and made it gleam - not only with computer terminals and sentry drones (we love those, sure) but also polished coral and cephalopod eyes. From these pages, I got the sense of William Gibson, and Paolo Bacigalupi - and Donna Haraway, and Octavia Butler. This is a planetary science fiction, and a profound new kind of adventure, featuring ? among so many other wonders ? the best villain I've read in years. In the end, the enormity and possibility of this novel's vision shook tears loose. What a ride; what a feeling; what a future. * Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore * A wildly original, gorgeously written, unputdownable gem of a novel. Nayler is one of the most exciting new voices i've read in years. * Blake Crouch, author of DARK MATTER * With a thriller heart and a sci-fi head, The Mountain in the Sea delivers a spooky smart read. Artificial intelligence, nascent animal sentience, murderous flying drones: like the best of Gibson or Atwood, it brings all of the plot without forgetting the bigger questions of consciousness, ecocide, and scientific progress. Truly a one-of-a-kind story. * Kawai Strong Washburn, author of SHARKS IN THE TIME OF SAVIORS * I came to The Mountain in the Sea for the cephalopds (I love cephalopods) but I stayed for the fascinating meditation on consciousness and personhood. I loved this book. * Ann Leckie * Full disclosure: in all my years as a science journalist, I could never quite get my head around the so-called hard problem of consciousness. I could recite the theories, but it wasn't until I read Ray Nayler's The Mountain in the Sea that I truly understood it in my bones. This book has many layers. It has the clothes of a futuristic eco-punk or cyberpunk thriller, the guts of a philosophy seminar and the soul of a religious tract. -- Sally Adee * NEW SCIENTIST * Nayler's debut is in equal parts page-turning near-future thriller and a profound exploration of language, communication and otherness... exhilarating and kaleidoscopic. -- Jay Owens * NEW HUMANIST *
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