the Qeng Ho trading expedition to the OnOff star becomes terribly complicated when they encounter the Emergents, humans new to space travel but with a horrific secret weapon. the prize: first contact with the inhabitants of the system and tantalising hints of new physics leftover from an ancient civilization.
an epic tale of interstellar conflict, espionage, treachery and loyalty, this is an exquisitely detailed portrayal of starfaring humanity perfectly integrated with their technology and their environment. if you only read one book in the next 30 Msec, make it this one!
the term “hard sf” usually describes stories that have a significant technological component. i’m not aware of any precise definition, but to me the appealing thing is the optimism. hard sf stories frequently portray a future where technology has eliminated many of the most pressing problems of our time. in Niven’s known space universe there is instantaneous transportation via stepping disks; the characters in many of Egan’s stories are effectively immortal thanks to the ability to download their personalities and thought processes into artificial devices. that’s not to say that such advances haven’t led to entirely new problems, but such difficulties can be exploited to weave a narrative around. even though the emphasis may be technological, a good narrative remains a critical element.
here i intend to share some of the books and authors that i think fit into this category, and that I have particularly enjoyed. i hope you may also enjoy them, and perhaps even buy them via the links to Amazon.com which will make them (and me) very happy.