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Lockstep  By  cover art

Lockstep

By: Karl Schroeder
Narrated by: Jonathan Todd Ross
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Publisher's summary

When 17-year-old Toby McGonigal finds himself lost in space, separated from his family, he expects his next drift into cold sleep to be his last. After all, the planet he' s orbiting is frozen and sunless, and the cities are dead. But when Toby wakes again, he' s surprised to discover a thriving planet, a strange and prosperous galaxy, and something stranger still - that he' s been asleep for 14,000 years.

Welcome to the Lockstep Empire, where civilization is kept alive by careful hibernation. Here cold sleeps can last decades and waking moments mere weeks. Its citizens survive for milennia, traveling asleep on long voyages between worlds. Not only is Lockstep the new center of the galaxy, but Toby is shocked to learn that the Empire is still ruled by its founding family: his own.

Toby's brother Peter has become a terrible tyrant. Suspicious of the return of his long-lost brother, whose rightful inheritance also controls the lockstep hibernation cycles, Peter sees Toby as a threat to his regime. Now, with the help of a Lockstep girl named Corva, Toby must survive the forces of this new Empire, outwit his siblings, and save human civilization. Karl Schroeder's Lockstep is a grand innovation in hard SF space opera.

©2014 Karl Schroeder (P)2014 Recorded Books

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Great concepts, little weak story

The concepts introduced in this book is really unique and interesting. Entire planets and its populations goes into hibernation for decades, then to be awake for a few years and then goes back into hibernation. This is a universe without FTL, so by coordinating the hibernation times between solar systems, they mitigate the time dilation effects by slower than light travel. It is quite an ingenious concept and Schroeder explains it really well. Original and unique new concepts are a rare thing in modern sf, and this is one of the best ideas I have seen in sf for a while.

On the other hand, all this is just background and the actually story in this novel is really not that interesting. Basically the main character just wants to reunite with his familiy, but this is complicated because he has been gone for generation and he has in the meantime become sort of a god figure. I hope Schroeder will return to this universe with a better main story.

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