Brenda Cooper

Reading Recommendation: Archangel, by Marguerite Reed

ArchangelI’m continuing to listen to some of the PK Dick nominee books in audio format.  This may be my last one as I need to start gearing up for the Hugos and Nebulas, and Norwescon is now coming right up.

I highly recommend Marguerite Reed’s complex far future novel Archangel.  I’m not quite sure whether I should describe it as a futuristic re-telling of Beauty and and the Beast or as an ecologically sensitive adventure/space colony story.  It doesn’t really matter….a book can be many things.  This one is good.

The writing is splendid, the world-building solid, and the story compelling. If they award the PKD based on the beauty of the line by line writing, I suspect Marguerite may have the rest of us licked (no small feat – these are good books!).

Since I listened to this rather than read it, I want to mention that the narrator was a near-perfect match for the main character’s voice. Dina Pearlman did very nice work here.

Archangel is set on a colony that may be the last hope for a version of mankind that can walk freely on a planet. There are ecological tensions, questions of genetic engineering, a great lost love, and political intrigue. These are all reader/writer cookies for me, and the themes (but not the story/characters) are very resonant with my own Fremont’s Children series where my debut won the Endeavor award years ago.  I always enjoy seeing how other writers handle similar ideas, and how we as science fiction writers hold what almost feels like indirect — and sometimes direct — conversations through our novels.

Since Ramez Naam (Apex), PJ Manney ((R)evolution), and I (Edge of Dark) all had transhumanist themes, I was curious about whether or not the other books did.  I would say yes for Archangel, as one central tension is about the humanity of a genetically modified character. But it is not as much the main theme as it is for the other three books.  At any rate, a reader interested in the next steps for mankind could read these four books and find four different, plausible, and fascinating answers.

Reminder — you can hear all six of us talk together at a great podcast put together by fellow nominee Douglas Lain. You can enter to win a copy of all six Phillip K. Dick nominated books on a website assembled by nominee Adam Rakunas.


Wings of Creation is now out in mass market paperback.

It’s on and Barnes and Noble.


The  silver ship series is now available in audiobook format from 



The Creative Fire can now be pre-ordered at and at Barnes and Noble.

Wings of Creation can now be pre-ordered in Mass Market paperback edition.

Westward Weird is now available — my first published ghost story

One of my favorite shorts, “My Grandfather’s River,” has been included in this beautiful new anthology named RIVER, edited by Alma Alexander and now available via Dark Quest Books.

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