(Del Rey/Random House, September 1998, ISBN 345-40857-8; ReAnimus Press, 2012)

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  •  Locus Recommended Reading List
  • Editors’ Choice
  • Borders “Best 10 Books of 1998”
  • SF Site “Reader’s Choice” List
  • New York Times Notable Book

With authorization from Del Rey Books, Arthur C. Clarke very generously ran a two-chapter excerpt of BLOOM in the U.S. paperback edition of his NYT bestselling novel 3001: THE FINAL ODYSSEY.  If you own a copy, look in the back!

Mycora: Technogenic life.  Fast-reproducing, fast-mutating, and endlessly voracious.  In the year 2106, these microscopic machine/creatures have escaped their creators to populate the inner solar system with a wild, deadly ecology all their own, pushing the tattered remnants of humanity out into the cold and dark of the outer planets.  Even huddled beneath the ice of Jupiter’s moons, protected by a defensive system known as the Immunity, survivors face the constant risk of mycospores finding their way into the warmth and brightness inside the habitats, resulting in a calamitous “bloom.”

 But the human race still has a trick or two up its sleeves; in a ship specially designed to penetrate the deadly Mycosystem, seven astronauts are about to embark on mankind’s boldest venture yet — the perilous journey home to infected Earth!


Bloom is tense, dynamic, intelligent, offering a terrifyingly vivid view of how technology can rocket out of our control.” — David Brin

“What clever and compelling science fiction! The Bloom future is all too believable.” –James Gleick, author of Chaos: Making a New Science

“Wil McCarthy makes ideas jump. Bloom grabs you from very first scene and doesn’t let go till the last page. It’s irresistible.” — Walter Jon Williams

“An ingenious yarn with challenging ideas, well-handled technical details and plenty of twists and turns.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Succeeds on many different levels, combining a unique literary style with complex scientific speculation and political intrigue. Wil McCarthy’s most entertaining and thought-provoking novel yet.” — Preston Grassman, Locus

“McCarthy is an entertaining, intelligent, amusing writer, with Clarke’s thoughtfulness [and] Heinlein’s knack for breakneck plotting.” — John Mort, Booklist

“An intense narrative of survival. Bloom works on several levels even while beckoning the reader into deeper mysteries. McCarthy proves once again that he has the wit and narrative power to take us to the outer reaches of space and down into the vast unknown of human, and inhuman, consciousness.” — Barnes and Noble

“Complex and inventive. Hundreds of pages of smart, suspenseful science fiction. ‘Our Pick.'” — Curt Wohleber, Science Fiction Weekly

“The writing is vivid. Readers who can plug into the prose and navigate its dense circuity will find themselves rewarded with a wallop of a finale that satisfies high expectations for high-concept SF.” — Publishers Weekly

“The science is consistent and integral to the story, and the characters are much more plausibly drawn than are so many folks in [other speculative] fiction. In nearly every passage, we get another slice of the science of McCarthy’s construction, and a deeper sense of danger and foreboding.” — Jim Hopper, San Diego Union-Tribune

“An astonishingly original concept, one of the most chilling versions of nanotechnology yet envisioned. McCarthy is able to make the idea… seem quite believable. The pacing of the book is also excellent. McCarthy has a real talent for hard-SF concepts and thriller plotting.” — D. Douglas Fratz, SF Age

“A feast of exposition [that is] tasty as well as nutritious. His sworn agenda to balance hard science, adventure and characterization is vindicated by the completed product. Bloom is a fine synthesis between Hard and Literary SF, a trick many have tried, but few have managed.” — Ernest Lilley, SF Revu

“Technology gone wrong provides hard-SF terror in this fast-paced thriller of nanotech-as-mold. Recommended.” — Russell Letson, Locus

“Ultimately [humanity] must learn to ask new questions. The book’s message is [that] in a universe stranger than we know, ignorance may be inevitable, but it’s definitely not bliss.” — Gerald Jonas, The New York Times

“Swiftly paced, consistently inventive and tightly written. This is a novel that knows its business.” — Gregory Feeley, The Washington Post

“McCarthy has worked out a bleakly dramatic future. This is the kind of broad view of mankind’s future and the universe reminiscent of Arthur C. Clarke.” — Fred Cleaver, The Denver Post

“The science is plausible, the narrative sinewy and taut.  [McCarthy’s] assurance and skill are evident throughout. Starlog Verdict: ***** [5 out of 5 stars]” — Starlog UK

“A strikingly fresh and extraordinary creation.  You will want this one on your must read list.” —

Bloom might be the wide-screen novel nanotech SF needs to kick-start itself.  As soon as I read the cover blurb I couldn’t wait to start reading, and then once I’d started reading I couldn’t stop.  Wil McCarthy’s take on nanotech SF may be just about as far as we can go with the idea in fiction.” — Stuart Carter, Infinity Plus (UK)

“Destined to become the classic nanotechnology novel.” — Bookman News

“Impressive.  Believable.  The story-telling and plot devices are tight, tight, tight.  I regretted ever having to put the book down.  I found it to be often insightful, in psychology, relationships, even philosophy. But the bottom line is that Bloom is fun.  Complaints?  Nope, can’t think of one.” — Fantastica Daily