Howard Falcon almost lost his life in an accident as the first human astronaut to explore the atmosphere of Jupiter - and a combination of human ingenuity and technical expertise brought him back. But he is no longer himself. Instead he has been changed into an augmented human: part man, part machine, and exceptionally capable.
"Oh my god"
It's 2070-71. Nearly six decades after Step Day, a new society continues to evolve in the Long Earth. Now, a message has been received: "Join us". The Next - the hyperintelligent posthumans - realize that the missive contains instructions for kick-starting the development of an immense artificial intelligence known as The Machine. But to build this computer the size of an Earth continent, they must obtain help from the more populous and still industrious worlds of mankind.
"Love this series"
The Western Front, 1916. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of no-man's-land gone? For that matter, where has Percy gone? Madison, Wisconsin, 2015. Police officer Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive - some say mad, others allege dangerous - scientist who seems to have vanished. Sifting through the wreckage, Jansson find a curious gadget.
"The Long Earth Falls Short"
A generation after the events of The Long Earth, humankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by "stepping". A new "America" - Valhalla - is emerging more than a million steps from Datum - our Earth. Thanks to a bountiful environment, the Valhallan society mirrors the core values and behaviors of colonial America. And Valhalla is growing restless under the controlling long arm of the Datum government.
It's 2045-2059. Human society continues to evolve on Datum Earth, its battered and weary origin planet, as the spread of humanity progresses throughout the many Earths beyond. Lobsang, now an elderly and complex AI, suffers a breakdown and, disguised as a human, attempts to live a "normal" life on one of the millions of Long Earth worlds. His old friend, Joshua, now in his 50s, searches for his father and discovers a heretofore unknown family history.
"The series is losing its way"
2040-2045: In the years after the cataclysmic Yellowstone eruption there is massive economic dislocation as populations flee Datum Earth to myriad Long Earth worlds. Sally, Joshua, and Lobsang are all involved in this perilous rescue work when, out of the blue, Sally is contacted by her long-vanished father and inventor of the original Stepper device, Willis Linsay. He tells her he is planning a fantastic voyage across the Long Mars and wants her to accompany him. But Sally soon learns that Willis has an ulterior motive for his request....
"More good story from this team"
For eons, Earth has been under observation by the Firstborn, beings almost as old as the universe itself. The Firstborn are unknown to humankind - until they act. In an instant, Earth is carved up and reassembled like a huge jigsaw puzzle. Suddenly the planet and every living thing on it no longer exist in a single timeline.
"A nice road to nowhere"
The Western Front, 1916. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of No Man's Land gone? Madison, Wisconsin, 2015. Cop Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive - some said mad, others dangerous - scientist when she finds a curious gadget: a box containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a potato. It is the prototype of a life-changing invention....
"World and not Character Building"
On the planet of Per Ardua, alien artifacts were discovered - hatches that allowed humans to step across light-years of space as if they were stepping into another room. But this newfound freedom has consequences. As humanity discovers the real nature of the universe, a terrifying truth comes to light: We all have countless pasts converging in this present - and our future is terrifyingly finite. There are minds in the universe that are billions of years old, and now we are vulnerable to their plans for us.
"Book 2 delivers the goods."
Returned to the Earth of 2037 by the Firstborn, mysterious beings of almost limitless technological prowess, Bisesa Dutt is haunted by the memories of her five years spent on the strange alternate Earth called Mir, a jigsaw-puzzle world made up of lands and people cut out of different eras of Earth's history.
"Educated people won't War?"
The very far future: The galaxy is a drifting wreck of black holes, neutron stars, and chill white dwarfs. The age of star formation is long past. Yet there is life here, feeding off the energies of the stellar remnants, and there is mind, a tremendous galaxy-spanning intelligence each of whose thoughts lasts a hundred thousand years. And this mind cradles memories of a long-gone age when a more compact universe was full of light... The 27th century: Proxima Centauri, an undistinguished red dwarf star, is the nearest star to our sun. How would it be to live on such a world?
"No Sense of Conclusion"
Short novels may well be the perfect length for science-fiction stories. They are movie-length tales that resonate with moxie while fully exploring characters, new worlds, and ideas. The stories in this unabridged audio collection are the best-of-the-best short science-fiction novels published in 2010 by current and emerging masters of this form.
"THE ABSENCE OF AMBITION IS THE ULTIMATE AMBITION"
Four hostages are rescued from a group of religious extremists in Barcelona. After five years of being held captive together, they make a vow to always watch out for one another. But they never expected this... The world they have returned to has been transformed by water - and the water is rising. As it continues to flow from the earth's mantle, entire countries disappear. High ground becomes a precious commodity. And before 50 years have passed, there will be nowhere left to run....
"Too long and Too English"
Twenty-seven years later, the Firstborn are back. This time, they have sent a "quantum bomb" speeding toward Earth, a device that human scientists can barely comprehend, let alone stop or destroy. But when shocking new insights emerge about the nature of the Firstborn and their plans, an unexpected ally appears from light-years away.
"The end to the Trilogy!"
The Light of Other Days tells the tale of what happens when a brilliant, driven industrialist harnesses the cutting edge of quantum physics to enable people everywhere, at trivial cost, to see one another at all times: around every corner, through every wall, into everyone's most private, hidden, and even intimate moments. It amounts to the sudden and complete abolition of human privacy - forever.
"When Seeing All is not Understanding All"
The years 2040 - 2045: After the cataclysmic Yellowstone eruption, there is massive economic dislocation as populations flee Datum Earth to myriad Long Earth worlds. Sally, Joshua, and Lobsang are all involved in this perilous work when, out of the blue, Sally is contacted by her long-vanished father and inventor of the original Stepper device, Willis Linsay. He tells her he is planning a fantastic voyage across the Long Mars and wants her to accompany him. But Sally soon learns that Willis has ulterior motives....
The Wheel. A ring of ice and steel turning around a moon of Saturn, and home to a mining colony supplying a resource-hungry Earth. It's a bad place to grow up. The colony has been plagued by problems. Maybe it's just gremlins, just bad luck. But the equipment failures and thefts of resources have been increasing, and there have been stories among the children of mysterious creatures glimpsed aboard the Wheel. Many of the younger workers refuse to go down the warren-like mines anymore.
"A Few Cracks In The Ice"
Following an accident that almost cost him his life, Howard Falcon was not so much saved as he was converted, through the use of prosthetics, into something faster, stronger and smarter...but also slightly less human and more machine than he was. And with this change came an opportunity - that of piloting a mission into Jupiter's atmosphere and ultimately of making first contact with the life forms he discovers there.
With the discovery of another life-sustaining planet light years away, there is hope for a chosen few to leave the soon-to-be submerged Earth. Holle Groundwater is one of the candidates, having been trained for this purpose since childhood, when the ships Ark One and Ark Three were being built. But as Holle prepares to endure life aboard the Ark, she comes to realize that her attempt at escape may be more dangerous than trying to stay afloat on a drowning planet.
A generation after the events of The Long Earth, mankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by Stepping. Where Joshua and Lobsang once pioneered, now fleets of airships link the stepwise Americas with trade and culture. Mankind is shaping the Long Earth - but in turn the Long Earth is shaping mankind...
"I may be biased in these ratings"