There is one city left, and soon that will be gone, for the streets of Kray are crumbling beneath a wave of exotic and lethal vegetation as it creeps south, threatening to wipe out the last traces of humanity. In the desperate struggle for survival most Krayans live from day to day, awaiting salvation from their goddesses or the government. Only a few believe that the future might lie in their own hands.
Zinina, having fled from the Citadel, determined to discover what secrets are buried beneath it…
Arrahaquen, daughter of a member of the all-powerful Red Brigade, whose privileged position makes her insurgency all the more dangerous…
Graaf-lin, channelling the prophecies of the Eastcity serpents and racing against time to infiltrate the city’s computer networks before they collapse…
And a man, deKray, whose sudden appearance accompanies a startling sequence of events…
Set on a world both deadly and fascinating, Memory Seed is a compelling first novel which heralds a powerful new voice in science fiction.
Memory Seed: a short film here.
Memory Seed is certainly different and will not fit easily into preconceived categories.
… after a while the book started to get to me, and I’m glad I stuck with it…
…one of the best ‘environmental’ SF novels I have come across.
Memory Seed paints a rich picture of a dying civilisation, whose life and faith is a strange mixture of highly evolved half-forgotten technology… The result is an enjoyable, distinctive and often surprising read that provides as much humour as drama.
Memory Seed flowers into a very convincing and entertaining first novel. The sense of location is particularly well realised, with the wretched overrun streets, the lost quarters of the city and the impinging ruin depicted particularly vividly… This attractive voice, coupled with a complex and fascinating plot and a simple but stylish book design, makes Memory Seed a notable debut novel.
The exotic horticulture is as inventive as anything in Aldiss’ classic Hothouse, and parallels with present environmental concerns aren’t bludgeoned home… Palmer is a find.
Memory Seed is a speculative novel of the distant future that extrapolates many of today’s environmental and New Age concerns into an enjoyable thriller about human survival against the odds. Stephen Palmer has concocted a beguiling adventure that draws on some of the best sf of recent years for its basic themes, yet also adds just as much to the genre’s melting-pot of ideas.
Palmer’s imagination is fecund, and his city… is vividly drawn… Despite the multiplication of plot threads, Palmer is meticulous in tying up the loose ends… a hectic but ultimately convincing debut.
Stephen Palmer brilliantly explores a lot of the environmental and social issues of today as Kray, the last city left on Earth, is threatened by the approach of a fast-growing deadly vegetation. Palmer is most definitely a name to keep an eye on.
Palmer submerges you in the customs, language and ways of Kray’s alien society but the novel’s strongest quality is its simple, cast-iron plot with an ending which delivers all it promises.
Stephen Palmer has a powerful imagination and the scenes of urban collapse and encroaching jungle are vivid and compelling. In this respect he has created an intriguing dystopian ecological-catastrophe novel, diverging from the recent trend of socially-driven catastrophes in British sf.
…the main characters come across strongly, and there is an interesting mix of the mystical and the scientific, with serpents, seeresses and goddesses, supercomputers and self-repairing robots, all in casual daily use. Memory Seed is a promising debut.
Memory Seed is a promising debut. Palmer takes biotech to its farthest extreme, and beyond into entropy, yet he offers a flicker of hope.
Stephen Palmer’s Memory Seed is a great debut, whose central premise of a world strangled by vegetation is more affecting than you might believe… Memory Seed is told with a real sense of belief.
The end was kind-of hurried I thought and could have been gone through with as much detail and starkness as the rest of the novel. But it is still one of my all time favourites.
original Orbit paperback cover