Swift Thoughts

Open Road Media
Free sample

This collection of stories showcases the work of George Zebrowski, one of science fiction’s masters and a writer Hugo and Nebula Award winner Robert J. Sawyer has called “one of the most philosophically astute writers in science fiction.” Like the writers Olaf Stapledon, Arthur C. Clarke, and Stanislaw Lem, Zebrowski explores the “big questions”—the expansion of human horizons, and the growth of power over our lives and the world in which we live.

In the title story, scientists push the boundaries of human mentality to keep pace with ever-evolving AIs. In “The Eichmann Variations,” a finalist for the Nebula Award, exact copies of captured Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann stand trial for his crimes against humanity, while in “The Word Sweep,” all speech must be rationed because spoken words take on physical form. In “Wound the Wind,” another Nebula Award finalist, unchanged humans roam freely until captured by those who know what’s best for them, and in “Stooges,” a visiting alien hijacks the persona of Curly Howard. From hard science fiction (“Gödel’s Doom”) to alternate history (“Lenin in Odessa”) to first alien contact (“Bridge of Silence”), and with an introduction by renowned physicist/writer Gregory Benford, this collection presents one of the most distinctive voices writing in the field of science fiction today.
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About the author

George Zebrowski’s more than forty books include novels, short fiction collections, anthologies, and a collection of essays.
 
His short fiction, articles, and essays have appeared in Omni magazine, Asimov's Science FictionAmazing Stories, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science FictionInterzoneScience Fiction AgeNature, the Bertrand Russell Society News, and many other publications. “Heathen God” was nominated for a Nebula Award in 1972. 
 
Brute Orbits (1998), an uncompromising novel about the future of the penal system, was honored with the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and Stranger Suns (1991) was a New York Times Notable Book.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Apr 1, 2014
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Pages
334
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ISBN
9781480494763
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Science Fiction / Collections & Anthologies
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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“Like his previous tales of technocratically engineered futures (Macrolife; Stranger Suns; etc.), Zebrowski's latest evokes the pioneering SF of social philosopher Olaf Stapledon... In the 21st century, Earth incarcerates its undesirables in mined-out asteroids launched into new orbits for the duration of their sentences. "This use of distance as a better prison wall" is more than just an ingenious application of technology to the penal system: it's also a convenient trick for disposing of the socially misfit, since orbits are "accidentally" miscalculated to prevent their return. The narrative follows the histories of several of these "rocks" as their prisoners fight, unite and ultimately set out to create superior, self-contained cultures free of the taint of earthly ways. Individual asteroids house specific groups of offenders, ranging from hardened convicts to sexual deviants, juvenile delinquents and unwanted foreigners... Zebrowski argues his points with conviction.
Publishers Weekly

"A brilliant and dramatic philosophical reflection on the nature of society, technology . . . and humanity itself. Zebrowski is a deep thinker who writes about the big questions' in the grand tradition of Wells, Stapledon, and Clarke."
-- Jack M. Dann, award-winning author of The Silent and The Memory Cathedral

High Crimes Call for High Punishment. It is the twenty-first century. Convicts are sentenced to asteroids that move in ever-widening solar orbits, timed to return when their terms run out. But a few ambitious administrators discover that small "errors" in velocity can rid them of selected groups altogether: the hardcore violent, the mentally defective, and especially the political dissidents. Enduring the black vise of interstellar space-time, these human rejects--men and women mixed together--create their own Darwinian societies, struggling to survive.

Back on Earth, a handful of sympathetic and curious scientists have not forgotten these lost citizens. When a technological breakthrough makes it possible to overtake these scattered asteroids, a courageous team sets out to go where none has willingly gone before. What they discover in these "brute orbits" is both provocative and moving--a startling vision of humanity you will never forget. 
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