Theory of Bastards
The Philip K. Dick Award-winning sci-fi novel: "A riveting page-turner" about the behavior of primates--human and otherwise--"in a very near and dire future" (The Washington Post).Winner of the 2019 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Speculative Fiction One of The Washington Post's 50 Notable Works of fiction in 2018 In a world where coastal cities flood, dust storms plague the Midwest, and implants connect humans directly to the Web, Dr. Francine Burk has broken new ground in the study of primate sexuality. While in recovery from a long-needed surgery--paid for with a portion of her McArthur "genius" award money--Frankie is offered placement at a prestigious research institute where she can verify her subversive scientific discovery: her Theory of Bastards.
Leaving Manhattan for a research campus outside Kansas City, Frankie finds that the bonobos she's studying are complex, with distinct personalities. She comes to know them with the help of her research partner, a man with a complicated past and perhaps a place in her future. But when the entire campus is caught in a sudden emergency, the lines between subject and scientist--and between colleague and companion--begin to blur.
Audrey Schulman Award-winning novel explores the nuances of communication, the implications of unquestioned technological advancement, and the enduring power of love in a way that is essential and urgent in today's world.
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About the Author
Praise for Theory of Bastards
"[...] a riveting page-turner about bonobos [...] In the second half you will be unable to look away from the page, hardly be able to draw a breath [...] in creating white-knuckle tension or describing sudden violence, Schulman can rival any of our more famous thriller writers."--Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
"And, fittingly, it is Frankie's take on the 'benefit in having the lover's baby rather than the husband's' (in other words, the theory of bastards) that both gives the novel its title and marks the culmination of Schulman's quixotic yet surprisingly successful attempt to fashion the scientific study of human and bonobo sexual preferences into enthralling fiction."--The Globe and Mail
"Ms. Schulman is a swift, confident, engaging writer who wields her considerable research--the novel includes a five-page appendix documenting her sources--with a nimble touch."--The Wall Street Journal
"Ms Schulman's finest novel yet is an examination of sexual relations, the 'careful theatre' of civilisation, and humanity's responsibilities in a rapidly changing world. It is both an edifying read and an exhilarating one."--The Economist
"Theory of Bastards is lifted by its science, flecked like mica throughout the story [...] The writer skillfully weaves fact with fiction. Her chapters are short, her sentences clipped and efficient, if not beautiful [...] a clever story about female desire with its own fascinating origins."--Newsday
"[A] deeply unusual, psychologically astute novel about technology and survival, sex and love. [...] Beguiling, irreverent, and full of heart."--Kirkus (Starred Review)
"[A] wonderful, intricate novel [...] set in the palpably near future [...and] a propulsive story rooted in a future that feels possible. The incorporation of research into the narrative is seamless, and the result is an astute, impeccable page-turner readers will savor."
--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Schulman has written a futuristic tale that places animals and people on a journey of survival. Francine is a reproductive scientist and is doing research on bonobos monkeys. These gentle animals are very intelligent and communicative. In the midst of this landscape natural disaster occurs and man and monkey must flee their habitat to escape disaster. A fascinating look at the cooperation between man and beast and the attachments that are forged. Awesome!"--Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette
"This is the most absorbing novel I've read all year! Page after ravishingly vivid page, Audrey Schulman creates a not-far-in-the-future world that feels as real as our own. The science she draws on is 100 percent accurate, the technology she foresees is completely believable, and the relationships between the humans and bonobos are among the richest and most compelling of any personal connections described in literature. And the ending--wow."--Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus
Praise for Audrey Schulman"Audrey Schulman does a beautiful job of balancing adventure, suspense and self-discovery."--Michele Ross, CNN "[A House Named Brazil is] Quirky and thoughtful... Schulman renders the strange beauties of a world that draws on resources scarcely known to us."--The New York Times "A genuine page-turner with literary content."--Boston Globe "Lyrical . . . Suspenseful . . . Schulman's heroine [in The Cage] is a true original transformed emotionally and physically by experiences marvelously imagined and compellingly described."--The Los Angeles Times "Bizarre yet intriguing . . . More than enough to keep readers turning pages. . . Schulman's language is lovely."--USA Today Praise for Audrey Schulman's Three Weeks in December "A fresh and complex novel."--The New York Times Book Review "Schulman delivers the known world in startling new sounds, colors, tastes and smells."--The New York Times "Against a backdrop of punishing nature and menacing warlords, Schulman meticulously explores the inner lives of her characters."--The New Yorker "Unexpected, absolutely original, believable and so beautifully told that the reader leaves the book feeling amazed and completely satisfied."--Shelf Awareness "Deftly weaving the forays of two individuals...into the unknown heart of Africa."--Publishers Weekly