9780345448408

City at the End of Time

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780345448408

  • ISBN10:

    0345448405

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-08-25
  • Publisher: Del Rey
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Summary

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 peopleGinny, Jack, and Danieldream 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 Kalpaa would-be warrior, Jebrassy, and an inquisitive explorer, Tiadbawho have been genetically retro-engineered to possess qualities of ancient humanity. As for Daniel: He dreams of an empty darknessall 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 futureand complete the greatest achievement in human history. From the Hardcover edition.

Author Biography

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.

www.gregbear.com



From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts

Chapter 1

Seattle

The city was young. Unbelievably young.

The moon rose sharp and silver-blue over a deck of soft gray clouds, and if you looked east, above the hills, where the sun would soon rise, you saw a brightness as yellow and real as natural butter.

The city faced the coming day with dew cold and wet on new green grass, streaming down windows, beaded on railings, chill against swiping fingers.

Waking up in the city, no one could know how young it was and fresh; all had activities to plan, living worries to blind them, and what would it take to finally smell the blessed, cool newness, but a whiff of something other?

Everyone went about their business.

The day passed into dusk.

Hardly anyone noticed there was a difference.

A hint of loss.

With a shock that nearly made her cry out, Ginny thought she saw the old gray Mercedes in the wide side mirror of the Metro bus-stopped the next lane over, two car lengths behind, blocking traffic. The smoked rear windows, the crack in its mottled windshield-clearly visible.

It's them-the man with the silver dollar, the woman with flames in her palms.

The bus's front door opened, but Ginny stepped back into the aisle. All thoughts of getting out a stop early, of walking the next few blocks to stretch her legs and think, had vanished.

The Metro driver-a plump black woman with ivory sclera and pale brown eyes, dark red lipstick, and diamonds on her incisors, still, after a day's hard work, lightly perfumed with My Sin-stared up at Ginny. "Someone following you, honey? I can call the cops." She tapped the bus's emergency button with a long pearly fingernail.

Ginny shook her head. "Won't help. It's nothing."

The driver sighed and closed the door, and the bus drove on. Ginny took her seat and rested her backpack in her lap-she missed the weight of her box, but for the moment, it was someplace safe. She glanced over her shoulder through the bus's rear window.

The Mercedes dropped back and turned onto a side street.

With her good hand, she felt in the pack's zippered side pocket for a piece of paper. While unwrapping the filthy bandage from her hand, the doctor at the clinic had spent half an hour gently redressing her burns, injecting a big dose of antibiotics, and asking too many questions.

Ginny turned to the front of the bus and closed her eyes. Felt the passengers brush by, heard the front door and the middle door open and close with rubbery shushes, the air brakes chuffing and sighing.

The doctor had told her about an eccentric but kind old man who lived alone in a warehouse filled with books. The old man needed an assistant. Could be long-term. Room and board, a safe place; all legit. The doctor had not asked Ginny to trust her. That would have been too much.

Then, she had printed out a map.

Because Ginny had no other place to go, she was following the doctor's directions. She unfolded the paper. Just a few more stops. First Avenue South-south of the two huge stadiums. It was getting dark-almost eight o'clock.

Before boarding the bus-before seeing or imagining the gray Mercedes- Ginny had found an open pawnshop a block from the clinic. There, like Queequeg selling his shrunken head, she had hocked her box and the library stone within.

It was Ginny's mother who had called it the library stone. Her father had called it a "sum-runner." Neither of the names had ever come with much of an explanation. The stone-a hooked, burned-looking, come-and- go thing in a lead-lined box about two inches on a side-was supposed to be the only valuable possession left to their nomadic family. Her mother and father hadn't told her where they had taken possession of it, or when. They probably didn't know or couldn't remember.

The box always seemed to weigh the same, but when they slid open the grooved lid-a lid tha

Excerpted from City at the End of Time by Greg Bear
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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