Nine-year-old Prabir Suresh lives alone with his baby sister, Madhusree, and his biologist parents on a tropical Indonesian isle. Teranesia is so small and remote, it’s not on the maps, and its strange native species of butterfly remained undiscovered until the 21st century. Prabir never wants to leave, but war forces him to flee with Madhusree. He believes he has saved his sister-until she returns to Indonesia, a grad student seeking to carry on their parents’ forgotten work, pursuing reports of strange new plant and animal species. Prabir follows, to discover birds and orchids even stranger than the butterflies: mutants that are evidence of frightfully sped-up evolutionary changes with no discernable cause.
Greg Egan has received the Hugo Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He was widely considered the best SF author of the ’90s, and one publication (Science Fiction Weekly) has named him “perhaps the most important SF writer in the world”—high praise, but not unjustified. For evidence, check out not only Teranesia, but works like Diaspora, Distress, and Quarantine.