|Sarah Zettel writes classic SF with the classic subjects (space travel, alien worlds, exotic cultures, inventive scientific extrapolation), but infused with a thoroughly modern and socioculturally savvy sensibility. It's no wonder she established herself as a major player in SF with only two novels. Her debut, Reclamation, won the Locus Award for Best First Novel and was a Philip K. Dick Award finalist; her second novel, Fool's War, was a New York Times Notable Book of 1997. Her third novel, Playing God, will win her even more acclaim, with its strong writing, terrific world-building, complex characterizations, and genuinely alien aliens. And its sheer scope. Rarely has a book been more accurately titled than Playing God.
The multi-planetary corporation Bioverse hires biotechnologist Lynn Nussbaumer to save the world--namely, the planet All-Cradle, home of the Dedelphi. A genetically engineered bio-weapon has mutated out of control and threatens the entire Dedelphi race with extinction; in desperation, the violently tribal Dedelphi have signed their first planet-wide cease-fire and sought off-world help. But Dr. Nussbaumer's only chance of success requires evacuating and re-creating the whole planet--a plan that breaks the fragile truce among the millennia-old Dedelphi enemies and also divides their human allies, risking the quick destruction of all, in a fast- paced, intricate, masterfully plotted narrative of intrigue and betrayal. --Cynthia Ward