It's 2026, and catastrophe has struck from an unexpected source. The Alpha Centauri supernova has risen like a second sun, rushing Earth toward its last summer. Floods, fires, starvation and disease paralyze the planet. In a blue aurora flash of gamma rays, all microchips worldwide are destroyed, leaving an already devastated Earth without communications, transportation, weaponry, or medicine.
The disaster sets three groups of survivors on separate quests. A militant cult seizes the opportunity to free their leader, known as the Eye of God, from the long-term coma to which a court sentenced her. Three cancer patients also search for a man in judicial sleep: the brilliant scientist-and monstrous criminal--who alone can continue the experimental treatment that keeps them alive. From a far greater distance come the survivors of the first manned Mars expedition, struggling homeward to a world that has changed far beyond their darkest fears. And standing at the crossroads is one man, U.S. President Saul Steinmetz, who faces a crucial decision that will affect the fate of his own people . . . and the world.
The year is 2053, and Earth has barely recovered from the Alpha
Centauri supernova that destroyed much of the planet's infrastructure.
Now the supernova's residual effect—a storm of high-energy
particles—is racing toward Earth, and an international effort has
been launched out of the Sky City space colony to save the planet. But
the controversial plan—to build a giant protective shield for
Earth—is falling dangerously behind schedule. A series of unexplained
murders has disrupted the Sky City workforce, so much so that a
brilliant but monstrous criminal has been enlisted to track down the
Sky City killer.
Then comes more startling news. Evidence indicates that the original
supernova was caused deliberately, and that the lethal particle storm
will arrive sooner than anyone expected. But who—or what—tried to
destroy the Earth? And will the answer come in time to save it from
its final apocalypse?
In the 23rd century, out of all the races in the galaxy, only
humanity has discovered the secret of travel between the
stars--not so much because we're so smart, but because we
are incredibly gadget-oriented. We are also, compared to the
galaxy's highly sophisticated norms, very, very tough, which
when a threat to all life in the galaxy arises from non-living
biological constructs, suddenly the peculiar human virtues
of valor and stubbornness make us the sword-wielding
saviors of All...
Publisher's Note: A shorter and much different verison of
this novel was published in 1986 as The Nimrod Hunt.
1982 Locus Poll Award, Best Single Author Collection (Place: 15). Collects 14 stories with introduction and afterwords by the author, including: The Man Who Stole the Moon, The Deimos Plague, Forefather Figure, Moment of Inertia (McAndrew series), The New Physics: The Speed of Lightness, Curved Space, and Other Heresies, From Natural Causes, Legacy (later incorporated into the novel Proteus), The Softest Hammer (1982 Locus Poll Award, Best Short Story (Place: 19)), Hidden Variable, A Certain Place in History, All the Colors of the Vacuum (McAndrew series), Perfectly Safe, Nothing To Worry About, Summertide (later incorporated into the novel Summertide), The Marriage of True Minds.
A brilliant collection of visionary short fiction by the author of Cold as Ice and Godspeed, Georgia on My Mind and Other Places includes the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning title story, along with other widely praised works, including "The Feynman Saltation," "Millennium," "The Fifteenth Station of the Cross," and the novella "Destroyer of Worlds."