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City at the End of Time

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City at the End of Time Cover

ISBN13: 9780345448392
ISBN10: 0345448391
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Multiple Hugo and Nebula award-winning author Greg Bear is one of science fiction's most accomplished writers. Bold scientific speculation, riveting plots, and a fierce humanism reflected in characters who dare to dream of better worlds distinguish his work. Now Bear has written a mind-bendingly epic novel that may well be his masterpiece.

Do you dream of a city at the end of time?

In a time like the present, in a world that may or may not be our own, three young people — Ginny, Jack, and Daniel — dream of a doomed, decadent city of the distant future: the Kalpa. Ginny's and Jack's dreams overtake them without warning, leaving their bodies behind while carrying their consciousnesses forward, into the minds of two inhabitants of the Kalpa — a would-be warrior, Jebrassy, and an inquisitive explorer, Tiadba — who have been genetically retro-engineered to possess qualities of ancient humanity. As for Daniel: He dreams of an empty darkness — all that his future holds.

But more than dreams link Ginny, Jack, and Daniel. They are fate-shifters, born with the ability to skip like stones across the surface of the fifth dimension, inhabiting alternate versions of themselves. And each guards an object whose origin and purpose are unknown: gnarled, stony artifacts called sum-runners that persist unchanged through all versions of time.

Hunted by others with similar powers who seek the sum-runners on behalf of a terrifying, goddess-like entity known as the Chalk Princess, Ginny, Jack, and Daniel are drawn, despite themselves, into an all but hopeless mission to rescue the future — and complete the greatest achievement in human history.

Review:

"In his triumphant return to large-scale SF, Nebula and Hugo-winner Bear (Quantico) links three young drifters in present-day Seattle with an unimaginably distant future. When the drifters answer an odd newspaper advertisement, they soon find themselves caught up in a war between mysterious and powerful forces. Two not-quite-humans, creations of a million-year experiment, have discovered that their ancient fortress/city, perhaps the last refuge of intelligence in a dying universe, is about to fall before the onslaught of chaos. They have been chosen by beings evolved far beyond mere matter to undertake a dangerous mission to preserve the universe's last vestiges of consciousness. Somehow the two groups engage in telepathic communication despite the eons that separate them. Something of an homage to William Hope Hodgson's classic The Night Land, this complex, difficult and beautifully written tale will appeal to sophisticated readers who prefer thorny conundrums to fast-paced action." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Fascinating." Booklist

Review:

"Plunging readers into a visceral experience of cosmological theory and the big creation stories of mythology, this challenging and imaginative work will receive critical attention. Recommended." Library Journal

Synopsis:

Bear's work contains sweeping futuristic vistas populated by creatures spawned from a decaying universe. The young heroes, each assigned to protect a fragment of the universe's history, must survive long enough to pass that knowledge onto the new universe that is being born.

About the Author

Greg Bear is the author of more than twenty-five books, which have been translated into more than a dozen languages. He has been awarded two Hugos and five Nebulas for his fiction. He is married to Astrid Anderson Bear, and they are the parents of two children, Erik and Alexandra. Visit him online at www.gregbear.com

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What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Jvstin, December 5, 2008 (view all comments by Jvstin)
City at the End of Time is an attempt to meld Borgean and Stapledonian themes by Greg Bear.

Set in two time frames, present day Seattle, and the far, far, far future, City at the End of Time is an ambitious novel by a novelist who in the past has reached for ambitious large works (Eon, Forge of God, Blood Music) but more recently has been writing technothrillers like Quantico.

In City at the End of Time, Bear tries to reach for those heights of ambition again, while not quite getting there. The action follows several young protagonists in both time frames, who are linked in some fashion that only slowly becomes clear throughout the novel (and even then, things are left ambiguous). Add in strange enemies reaching across time, both on a personal level, an archetype level ("The Chalk Princess"), and an amorphous all encompassing enemy called Chaos, and you can begin to see the scope and panorama of Bear's brush.

The nature of Chaos, both in the far future of its assault on the epynomous city (and as it bleeds into the present, its relationship with books and reality) reminded me strongly of Bear's writing in a fantasy novel, Songs of Earth and Power. The Borgean themes of the power of books and story (in both time frames) mix in with the time scales of the novel a la Olaf Stapledon; however we never really feel the gulf of time between here and then as we do in his work. One might also cite Zelazny as an inspiration for some of these

With that weakness aside, the writing is vivid and haunting (especially the scenes set in the strange far future.) While the far future protagonists might be *too* human, the modern characters are sympathetic and interesting, especially given their odd "abilities". I think perhaps Bear has been away from the deeper realms of SF too long, and that is a reason why the novel doesn't work on all cylinders.

Nevertheless, I welcome Bear's return to the realms of SF, even if its decidedly imperfect.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780345448392
Author:
Bear, Greg
Publisher:
Del Rey
Subject:
Science Fiction - High Tech
Subject:
Time travel
Subject:
Young adults
Subject:
Fantasy fiction
Subject:
Science / High Tech
Copyright:
Publication Date:
August 2008
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
496
Dimensions:
9.52x6.36x1.49 in. 1.64 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Adventure

City at the End of Time Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.95 In Stock
Product details 496 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345448392 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In his triumphant return to large-scale SF, Nebula and Hugo-winner Bear (Quantico) links three young drifters in present-day Seattle with an unimaginably distant future. When the drifters answer an odd newspaper advertisement, they soon find themselves caught up in a war between mysterious and powerful forces. Two not-quite-humans, creations of a million-year experiment, have discovered that their ancient fortress/city, perhaps the last refuge of intelligence in a dying universe, is about to fall before the onslaught of chaos. They have been chosen by beings evolved far beyond mere matter to undertake a dangerous mission to preserve the universe's last vestiges of consciousness. Somehow the two groups engage in telepathic communication despite the eons that separate them. Something of an homage to William Hope Hodgson's classic The Night Land, this complex, difficult and beautifully written tale will appeal to sophisticated readers who prefer thorny conundrums to fast-paced action." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Fascinating."
"Review" by , "Plunging readers into a visceral experience of cosmological theory and the big creation stories of mythology, this challenging and imaginative work will receive critical attention. Recommended."
"Synopsis" by , Bear's work contains sweeping futuristic vistas populated by creatures spawned from a decaying universe. The young heroes, each assigned to protect a fragment of the universe's history, must survive long enough to pass that knowledge onto the new universe that is being born.
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