Sue Burke's SEMIOSIS, a novel of first contact, a multi-generational story about colonists on a planet where plants are the dominant life forms – and they see animals, including humans, as their pawns, to Jennifer Gunnels at Tor, in a nice deal, for publication in January 2018, by Jennie Goloboy at Red Sofa Literary.
My novel is going to be published! Thank you, Jennie Goloboy, for all your work to sell it, and thank you, Jennifer Gunnels, for buying it.
First question: What is semiosis?
Here’s a definition: “Semiosis (from the Greek verb sēmeiô, "to mark") is any form of activity, conduct, or process that involves signs, including the production of meaning; an action or process involving the establishment of a relationship between a sign and its object and meaning.” Semiosis encompasses more than semantics, which focuses on language. It can include both human and nonhuman systems that use chemical, auditory, visual, or tactile signs to pass on information.
Second question: Is this a first novel?
Yes, and with luck, not the last. I actually finished this book in 2004, and then a bunch of stuff happened – or failed to happen – and the moral of the story is never give up.
Third question: Dominant plants? Really?
Years ago, one of my houseplants killed another plant. At first, I thought it was my fault because I should have been more attentive, like a proper indoor gardener. Then a few months later, now vigilant, I caught a philodendron about to attack another plant. So I did some research and learned that plants are horrible and vicious to each other – and when it comes to animals, they’re coldly manipulative.
Horrible, vicious, and manipulative – on Earth. What would happen on a different planet with a little more time to evolve?
I still have houseplants, by the way, but I don’t trust them.
— Sue Burke