From the author of Axis and Vortex, the first Hugo Award-winning novel in the environmental apocalyptic Spin Trilogy...

One night in October when he was ten years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his back yard and watched the stars go out. They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout. It would shape their lives.

The effect is worldwide. The sun is now a featureless disk--a heat source, rather than an astronomical object. The moon is gone, but tides remain. Not only have the world's artificial satellites fallen out of orbit, their recovered remains are pitted and aged, as though they'd been in space far longer than their known lifespans. As Tyler, Jason, and Diane grow up, space probe reveals a bizarre truth: The barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts. Time is passing faster outside the barrier than inside--more than a hundred million years per day on Earth. At this rate, the death throes of the sun are only about forty years in our future.

Jason, now a promising young scientist, devotes his life to working against this slow-moving apocalypse. Diane throws herself into hedonism, marrying a sinister cult leader who's forged a new religion out of the fears of the masses.

Earth sends terraforming machines to Mars to let the onrush of time do its work, turning the planet green. Next they send humans...and immediately get back an emissary with thousands of years of stories to tell about the settling of Mars. Then Earth's probes reveal that an identical barrier has appeared around Mars. Jason, desperate, seeds near space with self-replicating machines that will scatter copies of themselves outward from the sun--and report back on what they find.

Life on Earth is about to get much, much stranger.

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From Robert Charles Wilson, the author of the Hugo-winning Spin, comes Burning Paradise, a new tale of humans coming to grips with a universe of implacable strangeness.
Cassie Klyne, nineteen years old, lives in the United States in the year 2015—but it's not our United States, and it's not our 2015.

Cassie's world has been at peace since the Great Armistice of 1918. There was no World War II, no Great Depression. Poverty is declining, prosperity is increasing everywhere; social instability is rare. But Cassie knows the world isn't what it seems. Her parents were part of a group who gradually discovered the awful truth: that for decades—back to the dawn of radio communications—human progress has been interfered with, made more peaceful and benign, by an extraterrestrial entity. That by interfering with our communications, this entity has tweaked history in massive and subtle ways. That humanity is, for purposes unknown, being farmed.

Cassie's parents were killed for this knowledge, along with most of the other members of their group. Since then, the survivors have scattered and gone into hiding. Cassie and her younger brother Thomas now live with her aunt Nerissa, who shares these dangerous secrets. Others live nearby. For eight years they have attempted to lead unexceptional lives in order to escape detection. The tactic has worked.

Until now. Because the killers are back. And they're not human.


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2017 Aurora Awards Best of the Decade Finalist
2004 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Novel

Robert Charles Wilson, says The New York Times, "writes superior science fiction thrillers." His Darwinia won Canada's Aurora Award; his most recent novel, The Chronoliths, won the prestigious John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Now he tells a gripping tale of alien contact and human love in a mysterious but hopeful universe.

At Blind Lake, a large federal research installation in northern Minnesota, scientists are using a technology they barely understand to watch everyday life in a city of lobster like aliens upon a distant planet. They can't contact the aliens in any way or understand their language. All they can do is watch.

Then, without warning, a military cordon is imposed on the Blind Lake site. All communication with the outside world is cut off. Food and other vital supplies are delivered by remote control. No one knows why.

The scientists, nevertheless, go on with their research. Among them are Nerissa Iverson and the man she recently divorced, Raymond Scutter. They continue to work together despite the difficult conditions and the bitterness between them. Ray believes their efforts are doomed; that culture is arbitrary, and the aliens will forever be an enigma.

Nerissa believes there is a commonality of sentient thought, and that our failure to understand is our own ignorance, not a fact of nature. The behavior of the alien she has been tracking seems to be developing an elusive narrative logic--and she comes to feel that the alien is somehow, impossibly, aware of the project's observers.

But her time is running out. Ray is turning hostile, stalking her. The military cordon is tightening. Understanding had better come soon....

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In our rapidly-changing world of "social media", everyday people are more and more able to sort themselves into social groups based on finer and finer criteria. In the near future of Robert Charles Wilson's The Affinities, this process is supercharged by new analytic technologies--genetic, brain-mapping, behavioral. To join one of the twenty-two Affinities is to change one's life. It's like family, and more than family. Your fellow members aren't just like you, and they aren't just people who are likely to like you. They're also the people with whom you can best cooperate in all areas of life--creative, interpersonal, even financial. At loose ends both professional and personal, young Adam Fisk takes the suite of tests to see if he qualifies for any of the Affinities, and finds that he's a match for one of the largest, the one called Tau. It's utopian—at first. Problems in all areas of his life begin to simply sort themselves out, as he becomes part of a global network of people dedicated to helping one another—to helping him. But as the differing Affinities put their new powers to the test, they begin to rapidly chip away at the power of governments, of global corporations, of all the institutions of the old world. Then, with dreadful inevitability, the different Affinities begin to go to war--with one another. What happens next will change Adam, and his world, forever.

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A collection of the “best of the best” science fiction stories published in 2009 by current and emerging masters of the genre. In “Erosion,” by Ian Creasey,  a man tests the limits of his exo-suit prior to leaving a dying Earth. In “As Women Fight,” by Sara Genge, a hunter, in a society of body-switchers, has no time to train for a fight to inhabit his wife’s body. In “A Story, with Beans,” by Steven Gould, the role of religion in a dystopian future plagued with metal-eating bugs is considered. In “Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance,” by John Kessel, a monk, in the far future, steals the only copy of a set of plays from a repressive regime and uses this loot to free his people. In “On the Human Plan,” by Jay Lake, a mysterious alien visits a far-future, dying Earth in search of the death of Death. Set in the Jackaroo sequence, “Crimes and Glory,” by Paul McAuley, a detective chases a thief to recover alien technology that both aliens and humanity are desperate to recover. Set in the Lovecraftian “Boojum” universe, “Mongoose” by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear, a vermin hunter and his tentacled assistant come on board a space station to hunt toves and raths. In “Before My Last Breath,” by Robert Reed, a geologist discovers a strange fossil in a coal mine that leads to the discovery of a peculiar graveyard. In the Hugo Award winning novelette “The Island,” by Peter Watts, a woman on a spaceship must decide whether to place a stargate near an alien society that will ultimately destroy it. Finally, “This Peaceable Land; or, The Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beecher Stowe,” by Robert Charles Wilson, is an alternate American Civil War history in which the war was never fought, slavery gradually disappeared, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin was never published.
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