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Heaven's Reachby David Brin
Synopses & Reviews
Part One: The Five Galaxies
What emblems grace the fine prows of our fast ships?
How many spirals swirl on the bow of each great vessel, turning round and round, symbolizing our connections? How many are the links that form our union?
One spiral represents the fallow worlds, slowly brewing, steeping, stewing--where life starts its long, hard climb. Struggling out of that fecundity, new races emerge, ripe for Uplift.
Two is for starfaring culture, streaking madly in our fast ships, first as clients, then as patrons, vigorously chasing our young interests--trading, fighting, and debating-- Straining upward, till we hear the call of beckoning tides.
Three portrays the Old Ones, graceful and serene, who forsake starships to embrace a life of contemplation. Tired of manic rushing. Cloistering for self-improvement. They prepare to face the Great Harrower.
Four depicts the High Transcendents, too majestic for us to perceive. But they exist Making plans that encompass all levels of space, and all times.
Five is for the galaxies--great whirls of shining light--our islands in a sterile cosmos, surrounded by enigmatic silence. On and on they spin, nurturing all life's many orders, linked perpetually, everlasting.
Or so we are assured. . . .
Alarms sing a variety of melodies.
Some shriek for attention, yanking you awake from deathlike repose. Others send your veins throbbing with adrenaline. Aboard any space vessel there are sirens and wails that portend collision, vacuum leaks, or myriad other kinds of impending death.
But the alarm tugging at Harry Harms wasn't like that. Its creepy ratchet scraped lightly along the nerves.
"No rush," the soft buzzer seemed to murmur. "I can wait.
"But don't even think about going back to sleep."
Harry rolled over to squint blearily at the console next to his pillow. Glowing symbols beckoned meaningfully. But the parts of his brain that handled reading weren't perfectly designed. They took a while to warm up.
"Guh . . .," he commented. "Wuh?"
Drowsiness clung to his body, still exhausted after another long, solitary watch. How many duras had passed since he had tumbled into the bunk, vowing to quit his commission when this tour of duty ended?
Sleep had come swiftly, but not restfully. Dreams always filled Harry's slumber, here in E Space.
In fact, dreaming was part of the job.
In REM state, Harry often revisited the steppes of Horst, where a dusty horizon had been his constant background in childhood. A forlorn world, where ponderous dark clouds loomed and flickered, yet held tightly to their moisture, sharing little with the parched ground. He usually woke from such visions with a desiccated mouth, desperate for water.
Other dreams featured Earth--jangling city-planet, brimming with tall humans--its skyscrapers and lush greenery stamped in memory by one brief visit, ages ago, in another life.
Then there were nightmares about ships--great battlecraft and moonlike invasion arks--glistening by starlight or cloaked in the dark glow of their terrible fields. Wraithlike frigates, looming more eerie and terrifying than real life.
Those were the more normal dream images t
Brin, as usual, provides loads of action as he presents a galactic panorama to view and intellectual speculation to challenge the reader.
From the Paperback edition.
Winner of the Nebula and Hugo Awards, David Brin brings his bestselling Uplift series to a magnificent conclusion with his most imaginative and powerful novel to date--the shattering epic of a universe poised on the brink of revelation...or annihilation.
The brutal enemy that has relentlessly pursued them for centuries has arrived. Now the fugitive settlers of Jijo--both human and alien--brace for a final confrontation. The Jijoans' only hope is the Earthship Streaker, crewed by uplifted dolphins and commanded by an untested human.
Yet more than just the fate of Jijo hangs in the balance. For Streaker carries a cargo of ancient artifacts that may unlock the secret of those who first brought intelligent life to the Galaxies. Many believe a dire prophecy has come to pass: an age of terrifying changes that could end Galactic civilization.
As dozens of white dwarf stars stand ready to explode, the survival of sentient life in the universe rests on the most improbable dream of all--that age-old antagonists of different races can at last recognize the unity of all consciousness.
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