Ríos takes us into the eerie existence of the painter Victor Mons, who has created a series of works titled Monstruary, a menagerie of personal demons summoned from the disturbing and often erotic images of his past. We follow Mons on nocturnal outings and infernal escapades, as he encounters fiendish figures, otherworldly phantasms, and the beautiful models and prostitutes who serve as his muses. And we meet a host of fascinating and haunting characters: the architect who attempts to deconstruct a real city by constructing imaginary ones; the anonymous patron who commissions his portrait to be painted on his mistress’s skin; Mons’s ethereal lover, who torments him by recounting her infidelities–which he then paints; the mysterious itinerant collector, who may be only an actress playing the role of a lifetime.
Wonderland finally seems as if it’s getting back to normal. Queen Alyss is back on the throne, and reunited with her childhood sweetheart, Dodge. But the fight for Wonderland is far from over. King Arch, in nearby Boarderland, is conniving to overthrow everything for which Alyss and her friends have fought so hard. Even worse, King Arch has found an ally in the recently returned Redd, who has been biding her time and gathering new and evil assassins in the Catacombs of Paris. With enemies circling and danger looming, someone close to Alyss lets her down—and threatens the future of Wonderland forever.
By 2021, the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remain covet any living creature, and for people who can’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacra: horses, birds, cats, sheep. They’ve even built humans. Immigrants to Mars receive androids so sophisticated they are indistinguishable from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans can wreak, the government bans them from Earth. Driven into hiding, unauthorized androids live among human beings, undetected. Rick Deckard, an officially sanctioned bounty hunter, is commissioned to find rogue androids and “retire” them. But when cornered, androids fight back—with lethal force.
Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. In captivity, octopuses have been known to identify individual human keepers, raid neighboring tanks for food, turn off lightbulbs by spouting jets of water, plug drains, and make daring escapes. How is it that a creature with such gifts evolved through an evolutionary lineage so radically distant from our own? What does it mean that evolution built minds not once but at least twice? The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter?
What kind of intelligence do cephalopods possess? Drawing on the latest scientific research and his own scuba-diving adventures, Godfrey-Smith probes the many mysteries that surround the lineage. How did the octopus, a solitary creature with little social life, become so smart? What is it like to have eight tentacles that are so packed with neurons that they virtually “think for themselves”? What happens when some octopuses abandon their hermit-like ways and congregate, as they do in a unique location off the coast of Australia?
By tracing the question of inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Godfrey-Smith casts crucial new light on the octopus mind―and on our own.