Brenda Cooper

Reading Recommendation: SEED, by Rob Zeigler

Sometimes we writers get to do fun things like hang out in big groups in houses together and write and laugh and talk.  And write.  And learn. Write some more,  read either other’s work.  You get the idea.

On one such escape to a writerly weekend in Flagstaff, Arizona, I met Rob Zeigler, and got a chance to read the first 50 pages of a draft manuscript of his.  It blew me away.  I had no doubt, even after reading the first fifty pages, that the book would be published.  Thus when Nightshade Books birthed it at World Fantasy I snatched up a copy.  Just finished it.

I highly recommend this book.

Here’s why:

  1. It’s a lovely piece of ecopunk.  There is some great work being done by people like Paolo Bacigalupi in this field, and Rob is a welcome new voice with a fresh vision.  This is not a future I had glimpsed before reading this book.
  2. Rob’s writing is really awesome.  Oh – it’s a first book.  It’s got a few blemishes here and there from that.  But there are so many flashes of brilliance in the confident writing that I didn’t care at all.  I loved it.  Rob doesn’t pull punches, nor does he avoid feeling. This is relentless and hard-hitting and a bit bleak, yet from time to time it touched my soul.
  3. SEED’s characters are diverse in color and gender, and they’re interesting.
  4. The book itself is a pleasure to read.  There are some books I will no longer read in physical form.  But SEED is pretty (the cover is awesome), and Nightshade did the interior book design so well that the book felt good to read. The font and white space and all of that are good choices.  The older I get, the less invisible book design has become; a bad design hurts to read and I run to the electronic copy even though I love physical books.

Oh, and just to show the best part of being writers, other than maybe discovering each other’s books, here is a picture of a bunch of the writer’s from the workshop I mentioned above (Jenn Reese, Rob Ziegler, Greg Van Eekhout, Sarah Castle, and Deb Coates):