Genie [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...

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Genie

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Overview

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.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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.


PRAISE FOR RICHARD POWERS


“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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Editorial Reviews

The New York Review of Books - John Leonard
“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.”
Boston Review - Tom Bissell
"Richard Powers is America’s greatest living novelist."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781614520511
  • Publisher: Byliner Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/8/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 502,637
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

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.

Biography

It isn't easy to characterize Richard Powers in a single sentence. The MacArthur grant recipient and award-winning novelist suffers from what Powers himself, in a Salon interview, called "a restlessness of theme"—his books feature everything from molecular genetics and neural networks to soap manufacturers and singers. What they have in common is something Powers refers to as "the aerial view": a perspective that sees humankind as one small element in a complex universe.

As a child in Chicago's northern suburbs, and later as a teenager in Thailand, Powers had no thoughts of becoming a writer. He believed he was destined to be a scientist and explored paleontology, archaeology, and oceanography before he finally enrolled as a physics major at the University of Illinois. But an honors literature seminar helped inspire him to change fields, and he ended up earning his M.A. in English. Powers then moved to Boston, where he found work as a technical writer and computer programmer. He embarked on an omnivorous, self-directed reading program and spent his Saturdays at the Museum of Fine Arts, where he came across a photograph titled "Young Westerwald Farmers on Their Way to a Dance, 1914."

"The words [of the title] went right up my spine," he later told an interviewer for Cultural Logic. "I knew instantly not only that they were on their way to a different dance than they thought they were, but that I was on the way to a dance that I hadn't anticipated until then. All of my previous year's random reading just consolidated and converged on this one moment, this image, which seemed to me to be the birth photograph of the twentieth century."

The photograph also engendered Powers's career as a novelist. His first book, Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance, was followed by Prisoner's Dilemma and The Gold Bug Variations, which was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book and as Time magazine's Book of the Year for 1991. Gerald Howard, writing in The Nation, called Powers "one of the few younger American writers who can stake a claim to the legacy of Pynchon, Gaddis, and DeLillo." The Gold Bug Variations, which includes the story of a Bach-obsessed scientist who abandons his quest to crack the genetic code, established Powers as a writer who could articulate questions about science and technology—which emerge again in novels like Galatea 2.2, about a writer trying to teach literature to an artificial-intelligence program named Helen, and Plowing the Dark, which explores virtual reality and the human imagination as different means (or possibly the same means) of escaping the physical limitations of life.

Powers's works are packed with puns, parallels, and allusions; as Daniel Mendelsohn noted in The New York Times Book Review, each novel is "a kind of literary installation in which art objects, theoretical musings, plots and subplots, disquisitions on intellectual and literary history, histories of countries and corporations" illuminate an underlying theme. For some critics, Powers's brand of literary gamesmanship can be too much of a good thing: "He is quite capable of fluent sequential narrative, and readers will be relieved when he lapses into it after all the self-conscious brilliance and endlessly impressive allusion," noted a Publishers Weekly review of Operation Wandering Soul. But for his fans, part of the pleasure of a Powers novel comes from its dazzling and unexpected fusions of intellect and imagination. "It's instruct and delight, right?" Powers asked in the Salon interview. "You gotta give both."

Good To Know

Powers holds the Swanlund Chair in English at the University of Illinois, where he has taught classes in multimedia authoring and the mechanics of narrative.

On the Internet, he has been the subject of several hypertext essays, along with a hypertext vignette titled "Richard Powers Eats Peanut Butter Sandwich."

Several of Powers's novels have been finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award, including Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance, The Gold Bug Variations, and Galatea 2.2. Operation Wandering Soul was a National Book Award finalist.

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    1. Hometown:
      Urbana, Illinois
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 18, 1957
    2. Place of Birth:
      Evanston, Illinois
    1. Education:
      M.A., University of Illinois, 1979

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2014

    Genevieve

    She yawns and examines her bows.

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