Drucker said the title of the novel refers to a genre of science fiction called animal uplift, which features animals espousing human behaviors and becoming more advanced in the process, as seen in stories such as “Planet of the Apes.” However, “Downdrift” acts as a play on the term “uplift” in order to point to the negative aspects of animals adopting human behaviors and traits.
“These traits are seeping across species, it is not progress necessarily,” Drucker said. “Animals are coming into contact with human pollution and influences in a lot of ways.”
Droll, melancholic, and poetic, the tale is crammed with witty vignettes and poignant reflections on the ways the pressures on the once-natural world are accelerating mutations in behaviors among the animals.
3.4 rating based on 48 ratings (all editions)
Narrated by an Archaeon, a 3.8 billion year old species, the oldest on earth, Downdrift is a work of speculative eco-fiction that describes the impact of ecological pressures on animals that are adopting human behaviors, with droll and sometimes alarming, results. The book follows a year of changes and the travels of a housecat and a lion who are inexplicably driven towards a rendezvous. At first, a few isolated harbingers of change appear, but they quickly escalate. Squirrels take up manic knitting, wild hares steal earth-moving equipment, rats go in for disco music and form-fitting metallic leisure-ware. Data-sorting abilities appear among urban populations of birds, and frenzied domestic pets seek celebrity careers. Droll, melancholic, and poetic, the tale is crammed with witty vignettes and poignant reflections on the ways the pressures on the once-natural world are accelerating mutations in behaviors among the animals. Genetic material alters. The differences between animals blur. Odd mutant forms appear-goat-chicks and dog-flies, fish-birds and flying lizards-as if some mad rush is propelling genetic code to propagate across every form of flesh and living matter. As large-scale infrastructure projects make their appearance, each of the animals takes the role appropriate to its disposition--or not. Melancholic rather than apocalyptic, the book is a celebration of species as well as a mourning of the damage done in our time. Throughout, the emergent voice and character of the Archaeon extremophile records events as well as a slow coming to consciousness about its own identity as a hyper-organism.