Watermind
Reviewed in Asimov’s Science Fiction
Post-Genre Speculative Fiction by Norman Spinrad

…Buckner’s first novel, Watermind, though published by Tor, a long-standing last bastion of genre science fiction of literary quality (and that is by no means a contradiction in terms) is, I would contend, the sort of post-genre speculative fiction (and that is not necessarily a contradiction in terms either) we are seeing more and more of in these latter days.

There is a superficially hard SF premise, namely that the profligate dumping of all manner of electronic garbage into the Mississippi River system—cell phones, batteries, motherboards, television sets, microchips, solar cells, whatever—has combined with the superabundance of complex chemical sludge and microorganisms therein to create a kind of electro-organic hybrid organism, the Watermind of the title, a bioelectronic neural network evolving into a kind of sentience. (more…)