Also known as Evolution's Shore (click here to see cover art).
British Science Fiction Award nominee 1995.
Gaby McAslan's heart is set on a career in network journalism, but when the brightside of Iapetus starts diminishing, and Hyperion disappears completely, her destiny is truly set. As the mysterious fate of Saturn's moons draws her to London and fires her ambitions, so a meteor drags her even further, across whole continents, to Kenya, the site of the Kilimanjaro Event. Where the meteor landed, the striking African landscape has given way to something equally beautiful – and indescribably alien.
A little like a multi-coloured rain forest, a little like a drained coral reef, but mostly like nothing anyone has ever seen before, the alien flora deposited on Earth from the stars is spreading at a phenomenal rate.
It's dubbed the Chaga, in memory of the first of the African tribes to be engulfed and swallowed by the unceasing expansion. It destroys all plastics and man-made materials – and it moulds human flesh, bone and spirit to its own designs, as varied and as incomprehensible as the Chaga's own multitude of forms.
And when Gaby McAlsan finds the first man to survive the Chaga's changes, she realizes the Chaga has its own plans for humankind – and the face of the future is both terrifying and awesome...
Ian McDonald (born 1960) is a British science fiction novelist, living in Belfast. His themes include nanotechnology, postcyberpunk settings, and the impact of rapid social and technological change on non-Western societies.
Photo: Ian McDonald at Worldcon 2005 in Glasgow, 2005. Picture taken by Szymon Sokół. Source: Wikimedia Commons.