by Nancy Kress
Release date: May 22nd, 2020
(3.5) Rounded Up
To give her credit, the book is well-written, clever and the author does write realistic, multifaceted and mature characters …
This was the first work of fiction I have read from Nancy Kress. In the past I had read her non-fiction books on writing as part of a workshop I had taken and really enjoyed them. I was really looking forward to reading this novella and although well-written in many ways, it just wasn’t what I expected.
Coined a bio-thriller, although interesting wasn’t as dynamic or “thrilling” as advertised. The author bases an espionage story around the benefits of GMO’s over traditional agriculture but much of it felt like a huge info dump interspersed with an interesting mystery and very character driven story. To give her credit, the book is well-written, clever and the author does write realistic, multifaceted and mature characters.
The Protagonist, Renata Black is driven by her beliefs, all her life she has been championing for good, always looking for a cause even to the point of ruining her marriage to her Hollywood bound husband. When her son dies because of a water issue attributed to agricultural run-off she makes promoting GMO’s her new mission.
Set in the future, an incident ten years prior involving an bio-pharmaceutical incident resulting the deaths of children causes major GMO companies to disappear and agriculture with pesticides and fertilizers to become the norm. Looking for a cause to help her deal with her grief of losing her son she joins “The Org” as operative Caroline Denton. The Org, a pro-GMO, ultra-secretive , underground organization is working to bring back GMO’s to reduce starvation and ecological disasters around the world. When not working as an operative as Renata she works as a paralegal for a lawyer prosecuting rape cases for the Quinault reservation, where her son passed away.
The story opens with Caroline getting to investigate a runaway self-driving house blocking traffic and its operator/owner believed to be an Org operative is missing, and it appears to be the result of a mole in “The Org”. When a splinter cell gets raided and her name becomes known, Caroline/Renata is hunted by the government and labelled a terrorist.
The hunt for the missing operator, a case involving the rape of a Quinault teenager and her grief over losing her son are the plot-lines running through this novella, but they all felt overshadowed by too many info dumps revolving around GMO’s which in my opinion took away from the story of this short novella. Reading is subjective and although I found Sea Change hard to immerse myself in, doesn’t mean it won’t be appreciated by someone else.