Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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.)
"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
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.