book cover of The Mother Code
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The Mother Code

(2020)
A novel by

 
 
What it means to be human—and a mother—is put to the test in Carole Stivers’s debut novel set in a world that is more chilling and precarious than ever.

The year is 2049. When a deadly non-viral agent intended for biowarfare spreads out of control, scientists must scramble to ensure the survival of the human race. They turn to their last resort, a plan to place genetically engineered children inside the cocoons of large-scale robots—to be incubated, birthed, and raised by machines. But there is yet one hope of preserving the human order: an intelligence programmed into these machines that renders each unique in its own right—the Mother Code.

Kai is born in America’s desert Southwest, his only companion his robotic Mother, Rho-Z. Equipped with the knowledge and motivations of a human mother, Rho-Z raises Kai and teaches him how to survive. But as children like Kai come of age, their Mothers transform too—in ways that were never predicted. And when government survivors decide that the Mothers must be destroyed, Kai is faced with a choice. Will he break the bond he shares with Rho-Z? Or will he fight to save the only parent he has ever known?

Set in a future that could be our own, The Mother Code explores what truly makes us human—and the tenuous nature of the boundaries between us and the machines we create.

Genre: Science Fiction

Praise for this book

"Carole Stivers is far from the first to wonder if motherhood can be scientifically replicated, but this is a thoughtful and thought-provoking addition to that meditation. An end-of-times tale that focuses less on what has been lost and more on what and who might be saved (and how). Stivers' wonderful story settles right on the line between human and machine, as blame and threat and rescue and love shift from character to character in surprising and powerful ways." - Karen Joy Fowler

"I could not put down The Mother Code ! Part action adventure, part sci-fi, the novel is suspenseful and cinematic and such a pleasure to read. Carole Stivers is a masterful storyteller and she has combined science, technology and history to tell a beautiful story of humanity and love." - Devi S Laskar

"The Mother Code by Carole Stivers is brilliant, innovative, and moving." - Seanan McGuire

"Set against a post-pandemic apocalypse, biochemist Carole Stivers’s The Mother Code offers it all: intriguingly flawed characters; compelling action; and, that most elusive of things, a fresh plot—children raised from birth by mother bots. The Mother Code asks us to reimagine the limitations of artificial intelligence and the costs of species survival, and in doing so, offers a profound meditation on motherhood and what it means to be human. Stivers is a brilliant storyteller!" - Lori Ostlund

"Some stories are so unique, yet so universal, that it is wonder they aren’t a part of the human fable already. Carole Stivers’s The Mother Code, is such a novel. Simply written but powerful, chock full of ideas and extrapolations about what it means to be a mother and all that such a word implies. Both apocalyptic, yet hopeful, treat yourself to this story. You’ll be well rewarded." - James Rollins


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Used availability for Carole Stivers's The Mother Code

Hardback Editions

August 2020 : Hardback
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Title: The Mother Code
Author(s): Carole Stivers
ISBN: 1-984806-92-0 / 978-1-984806-92-5
Publisher: Berkley
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


August 2020 : UK Hardback
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Title: The Mother Code
Author(s): Carole Stivers
ISBN: 1-5293-7815-X / 978-1-5293-7815-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

January 2021 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Mother Code
Author(s): Carole Stivers
ISBN: 1-5293-7819-2 / 978-1-5293-7819-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


August 2020 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Mother Code
Author(s): Carole Stivers
ISBN: 1-5293-7816-8 / 978-1-5293-7816-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Availability: Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

August 2020 : USA Audio edition
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Title: The Mother Code
Author(s): Carole Stivers
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon   


August 2020 : Canada Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Mother Code
Author(s): Carole Stivers
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


May 2020 : USA Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Mother Code
Author(s): Carole Stivers
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Availability: Amazon   


May 2020 : Australia Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Mother Code
Author(s): Carole Stivers
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Availability: Amazon AU   


May 2020 : UK Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Mother Code
Author(s): Carole Stivers
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Availability: Amazon UK   


Kindle Editions

August 2020 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
thumb

Title: The Mother Code
Author(s): Carole Stivers
Publisher: Berkley
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


May 2020 : Australia, UK Kindle edition
thumb

Title: The Mother Code
Author(s): Carole Stivers
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU