By Light Alone
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In a world where we have been genetically engineered so that we can photosynthesise sunlight with our hair hunger is a thing of the past, food an indulgence. The poor grow their hair, the rich affect baldness and flaunt their wealth by still eating. But other hungers remain ...The young daughter of an affluent New York family is kidnapped. The ransom demands are refused. A year later a young women arrives at the family home claiming to be their long lost daughter. She has changed so much, she has lived on light, can anyone be sure that she has come home? Adam Roberts' new novel is yet another amazing melding of startling ideas and beautiful prose. Set in a New York of the future it nevertheless has echoes of a Fitzgeraldesque affluence and art-deco style. It charts his further progress as one of the most important writers of his generation.
left-hand arch of the terminal , loomed up. The snow whistled contentedly under his blades. He leant to the left and tucked his knees in, more by instinct than anything. A satisfying skirt of ice-dust rose glitteringly from his ski-edge. And then it was all over, and all the terror had been magically alchemized into exhilaration. Marie was waiting for him, her skis over her shoulders like a soldier’s rifle. Oh he was hyper, like a little kid, and stomping towards her. ‘Did you see me?’ he boomed.
On the contrary, each of those myriad dots of red was a spark of the essential flame of the universe. The idea of death was impossible, because death was a discontinuity, and discontinuity was not part of the grammar of the cosmos. George had – before – felt himself to be cut off from his daughter, but this had been a misunderstanding, an error, for she and he had never been separated. He pressed his arms around her now, and around his wife, and it reaffirmed what had always been. It would have
losing it was ghastly. But there was nothing to do but tread very carefully, and hope he did not fall. Through a gummy mouth, George spoke carefully: ‘What do you mean, my love?’ ‘Oh nothing,’ said Leah, and George’s heartbeat accelerated a little, as if at a dodged bullet. But then she said: ‘I just thought, we can fly to Antarctica and Argentina, and Ararat begins with a A.’ ‘Ararat does begin with an A.’ ‘I just wondered if we could go there, maybe. I’d like to see Mummy.’ ‘You can see
her father, of course. That had been the fundamental incompatibility between the two of them, Marie now saw: his inwardness, as opposed to her receptiveness to the world outside. She did not pretend never to have loved him. Obviously she had loved him, once: and not just for his good looks and louchely attentive sensuality. But he was a radically passive individual, content to let things happen to him. Where she, of course, was radically active. She was a doer, a go-getter, a maker. Once upon a
you eat this?’ she gasped. She was proper amazed. ‘It is like eating fire.’ ‘Oh, you’re the fire-eater,’ he laughed. It took a while to understand what he meant. The sun, the sun. He fell asleep eventually, his sphere-stomach creaking and burbling like a bathysphere squeezed by abyssal pressures in the deep ocean. Issa dozed at the side of his bed. She had a dream in which the sun spoke to her. It said: I am a fish, the greatest leviathan. It was orange as a goldfish, with a peripheral fringe