It is 2728, and instantaneous travel is possible from one body to another on any of 300 human-inhabited worlds through Fashion Gates. On Cecrops, Jazari, a gullible student of xenolinguistics, naively joins a crime lord’s crew and is seeking ways to escape. In another distant world, Eala, a brilliant scientist, is looking for a telepathic breakthrough through her research on Taktak, a gentle amphibious species. In the outer reaches of the Sol system, ZD777 wakes from cryo, alone on a frozen asteroid that is about to explode. Thrown together by chance, the three must figure out a way not only to save themselves but also the future of humanity. Linse masterfully integrates his characters’ struggles with their fears, insecurities and inner turmoil into a sweeping, optimistic portrait of humanity’s ability to survive in the face of disaster. The fascinatingly wonder view of the 28th-century setting in which the backward-looking Earth has been largely cut off is intriguing, and Linse’s speculations about a future for virtual immortality are both interesting and well-integrated into the plot. Love triangles, political intrigue, the nature of intelligence, virtual immortality, and gating that allow people to teleport into deep space keep the story intriguing as it wends its way to the exciting, gratifying ending. This intricate, deeply imaginative work of hard science-fiction is a knockout.
Categories: Science Fiction