Part of a series the looked SO promising. Escaping from the genocidal forces of their home world, the last survivors of Snowglade, under the command of Captain Killeen, journey toward the Galactic Center while facing hunger, desperation, and distrust. And with these authors, the science is always good. David Brin and Gregory Benford come together again to issue a new edition of their bold collaboration about our near human future in space, planting our boots.
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Prescient and scientifically accurate, Heart of the Comet is known as one of the great "hard sf" novels of the s. First published in , it tells the story of an ambitious manned mission to visit Halley's Comet and alter its orbit, to mine it for resources. As factions battle over the comet's future. No time travel, but messages sent back in time to affect the present, but not so much as to cause a paradox. The author of Tides of Light offers his Nebula Award-winning SF classic--a combination of hard science, bold speculation, and human drama.
In the year , a group of scientists works desperatey to communicate with the scientists of , warning of an ecological disaster that will destroy the oceans in the future--if it is not averted in the past. The story is written from two viewpoints, equidistant from the novel's publication in The first thread is set in a ravaged by ecological disasters such as algal blooms and diebacks on the brink of large scale extinctions. Various other events are mentioned in passing, such as student riots and an event of nuclear terrorism against New York City which took place before the events of the novel.
Given the faster-than-light nature of the tachyon, these messages will effectively reach the past. The second thread is set in the University of California, San Diego UCSD , in La Jolla, California, in where a young scientist, Gordon Bernstein, discovers anomalous noise in a physics experiment relating to spontaneous resonance and indium antimonide. He and his student assistant, Albert Cooper also likely based on the author and his experiences at UCSD , discover that the noise is coming in bursts timed to form Morse code.
The resulting message is made of staccato sentence fragments and jumbled letters, due to the team's efforts to avoid a grandfather paradox. Their aim is to give the past researchers enough information to start efforts on solving the pending ecological crisis, but not enough that the crisis will be entirely solved thus making a signal to the past unnecessary and creating a paradox.
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Due to the biological nature of the message, Professor Bernstein shares the message with a professor of biology, Michael Ramsey. Since the message also gives astronomical coordinates, he also shares it with Saul Shriffer, a fictional scientist who is said to have worked with Frank Drake on Project Ozma. Initially, these characters fail to understand the true meaning of the message. Ramsey believes it to be an intercepted military dispatch hinting at Soviet bioterrorism, while Shriffer thinks the message is of extraterrestrial origin.
Shriffer goes public with this theory, mentioning Bernstein in his findings. However, Bernstein's overseer, Isaac Lakin, is skeptical of the messages and wants Bernstein to keep working on his original project and ignore the signal. As a result of this interruption in their experimentation, Bernstein is denied a promotion and Cooper fails a candidacy examination.
The signal also exacerbates difficulties in Bernstein's relationship with his girlfriend, Penny. In , Ian Peterson recovers a safe deposit box in La Jolla containing a piece of paper indicating that the messages were received. Meanwhile, it is clear that the viral nature of the algal bloom is spreading it faster and through more mediums than originally expected.
Strange yellow clouds that have been appearing are said to be a result of the viral material being absorbed through the water cycle, and it soon affects the planet's agriculture as well, resulting in widespread cases of food poisoning. Flying to the United States, Markham is killed in a plane crash when the pilots fly too close to one of the clouds and experience seizures. In the past story line, now advanced into , Bernstein refuses to give up on the signals.
He is rewarded when the signal noise is also observed in a laboratory at Columbia University a nod "Tachyons were the sort of audacious idea that comes to young minds used to roving over the horizon of conventional thought. Because of Feinberg I later set part of my tachyon novel at Columbia" towards the inventor of the tachyon concept, Gerald Feinberg of Columbia. Using hints in the message, Ramsey replicates the conditions of the bloom in a controlled experiment and realizes the danger it represents. Bernstein finds out that the astronomical coordinates given in the message represent where the Earth will be in due to the solar apex.
He also receives a more coherent, despairing message from the future. Having built a solid case, Bernstein goes public and publishes his results.
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This decision has monumental consequences. On November 22, a high school student in Dallas is sent by his physics teacher to the Texas School Book Depository to get a copy of Bernstein's findings. Kennedy, attacking the shooter and sending the would-be fatal third shot awry. Though seriously injured, Kennedy survives. This paradox creates an alternate universe and forever ends the contact with the original The concluding chapters portray the of the original timeline as a bleak, failing world, the intensified ecological disaster taking a noticeable toll on the human way of life.
Peterson retreats to a fortified country farmhouse which he has obviously prepared well in advance. Renfrew continues to send out signals including the more coherent one that Gordon receives until the building's generator gives out. Before it does, however, he receives a signal purportedly from the year In the final chapter, set in the alternate , an awards ceremony is held for achievement in science.
In light of Kennedy's survival, the United States President giving out the awards is William Scranton, who is said to have defeated Bobby Kennedy due to a telephone tapping scandal. The scientists whose work stemmed from the signal are honored, including Bernstein, who receives the Enrico Fermi Prize for his discovery of the tachyon. And they rule it with an iron fist.
Men are excluded from all positions of power and relegated to second-class status. Society has experienced a complete role reversal of the sexes. The women are the politicians, business leaders and generals, while the men are secretaries, clerks and maids.
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Men are not permitted to hold political office or even vote, serve in the military or the police force. This was part of a College course on SciFi - and boy was it extreme. Worth a gander if you like over the top satire. Once again, Thomas Berger brings a satiric and irreverent perspective to the human experience, evoking a world that most dare not even imagine and effectively dismantling all existing definitions of sex and gender. Like - Oh look at all the sparkly lights!!! Just doesn't hold up. City Six is a dark and brutal place, mired in crime and corruption.
Gangs rule the streets of the Undercity and every private police force is for sale. The rich live in secure enclaves, oblivious to the suffering and violence that plague the city's poor. Sinister and powerful corporations trade stolen bodymods, fearless of the law, and human life itself is just another saleable commodity. In this harsh environment an unprecedented threat is emerging.
Whistler and her team of professional abductors start to see a new parasitic organ in the bodies of their victims. Debian, a young cyber-criminal turned commercial hacker, finds a terrifying computer virus in the databanks of an AI-research company.
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An unknown enemy is attacking the city, altering the populace into nightmarish creatures and decimating computer systems. It seems unstoppable. Can these unlikely heroes find a way to fight it? Or will City Six fall prey to an environmental and technological catastrophe on an unimaginable scale? In a world policed by telepaths, Ben Reich plans to commit a crime that hasn't been heard of in 70 years: murder. That's the only option left for Reich, whose company is losing a year death struggle with rival D'Courtney Enterprises.
Terrorized in his dreams by The Man With No Face and driven to the edge after D'Courtney refuses a merger offer, Reich murders his rival and bribes a high-ranking telepath to help him cover his tracks.