From a Changeling Star: A Novel of the Starstream

Starstream Publications
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Into a dying star . . .

Beneath the roiling surface of Betelgeuse, scientists anxiously await the one man essential to the success of Starmuse, the greatest engineering project in human history. But on Kantano’s World, Willard Ruskin battles invisible agents for control of his life, his physical form, and even his memories. Drawn into a conflict from which not even death will free him, Ruskin must find a way to reach Betelgeuse before his enemies sabotage Starmuse—and humanity’s future among the stars. A harrowing journey from inside the human cell... to the mind of a dying star.

A stunning blend of hard science fiction with moving characterization, both human and otherwise. Introduces the robot Jeaves, familiar to readers of The Chaos Chronicles. From the Nebula-nominated author of Eternity’s End

Original print publication by Bantam Spectra. A Locus bestseller.


“Starts with a bang and keeps getting better. Carver handles not one, but two hot topics, and presents both vividly.” —David Brin, author of Existence and Startide Rising

“Running from the micro to the macro and back again, redefining sentience, space-time, and perhaps humanity along the way, From a Changeling Star is a fast-paced puzzler, rich in invention, and Jeffrey A. Carver’s most ambitious book to date.”  —Roger Zelazny 

“As audacious and imaginative as the best of John Varley, with characters as memorable as those of Sturgeon or Zelazny, and with one of the most powerful endings in science fiction, this book will both hold and reward your attention.” —Spider Robinson, author of The Stardance Trilogy and Variable Star 

“Carver does an excellent job of tickling your sense of wonder, and in the end he leaves you both satisfied and craving another serving of his considerable talent.” —Tom Easton, Analog 

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More by Jeffrey Carver

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14 total

Additional Information

Starstream Publications
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Published on
Nov 11, 2014
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Fiction / Science Fiction / Action & Adventure
Fiction / Science Fiction / Alien Contact
Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Fiction / Science Fiction / Hard Science Fiction
Fiction / Science Fiction / Space Opera
Juvenile Fiction / Science Fiction
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Eligible for Family Library

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A great interstellar migration has begun, down the grand, ethereal highway known as the starstream—from the remnant of the Betelgeuse supernova to the center of the Milky Way. Who could have predicted the wonders of the starstream, or the perils it would unleash—including the Throgs, shadowy beings of n-space that seem to understand only death and destruction? But life goes on, dangers or no, and colonists pour down the starstream seeking new worlds. Aboard starship Charity are many such colonists, including one Claudi Melnik, a child of uncommon talents—and an AI named Jeaves, with purposes of his own. When the unthinkable occurs, Claudi must face alone the challenge of the Throgs. And no one, not even Jeaves, could have predicted the final confrontation—or imagined where unexpected allies would be found.

Triumphant sequel to the bestselling From a Changeling Star, Down the Stream of Stars is a daring journey across the gulf between human and alien, to the heart of consciousness itself. 

Named one of the best science fiction novels of the year by Science Fiction Chronicle. DRM-free ebook edition. Original print publication by Bantam Spectra.


Named one of the best SF novels of 1990 by Science Fiction Chronicle. 

“It was no surprise that...Jeffrey Carver’s Down the Stream of Stars would have heavy emphasis on science as well as good writing....” —Don D’Ammassa, in Science Fiction Chronicle

“Carver’s ingenuity is everywhere apparent.” —Locus

“I enjoyed it immensely. Carver provides another wild ride through a deranged cosmos. His imagination is matched only by his compassion. Marvelous effort!” —Jack McDevitt, author of Seeker and Chindi.

. . . and other works of Jeffrey A. Carver

“Masterfully captures the joy of exploration.” —Publishers Weekly

“One of the few hard SF writers whose characters are as interesting as the deep science.” —Melissa Scott, author of Dreamships and Trouble and Her Friends

“Jeff Carver is a hard sf writer who gets it right—his science and his people are equally convincing. “ —Gregory Benford, author of the Galactic Center novels

"This one's memorable and fascinating heroine is someone you're going to love as much as Katniss Everdeen." - Sandra Brown, author

"A gripping tale. Perfectly paced and brilliantly plotted." - Cathy Thompson, author

"Stanek's written many good, even great, books. This one's exceptional. Read it!" - Shannon Hale, author

"Builds and builds to a crescendo. Part Stephen King, part Suzanne Collins, part Max Brooks, 100% phenomenal!" - David Eastman, author

"Wonderful action writing. Fast, fun, and smart." - Margaret Brown, author

"I can see why Rothfuss doesn't want people to read Stanek. Stanek's a much more capable writer." - Emily Asimov, author

"What an amazing book! Unique and innovative, captivating to the end." - Mary Osborne, author

"Anyone who enjoyed The Hunger Games, World War Z, or The Maze Runner is going to enjoy this book." - Lisa Gardner, author

Episode #2. Where were you when the machine apocalypse began? 

In the ruins of our world, a new order arose, an order controlled by the very machines humankind created. The end for us came not from a massive global war but from something unthinkable, incomprehensible. The machines simply replaced us and we let them, and so, in the end, humanity went out not with a bang, but with a whimper. No shots fired. No bombs dropped. No cities destroyed. We ended and the machines began—or at least that is what the few human survivors of the machine apocalypse believe.

After the Machines

Episode One: Awakening
Episode Two: Transition
Episode Three: Descent
Episode Four: Precipice


To the machines, we became nothing—except maybe outsiders, if they considered us at all. Outsiders looking in on their reality, for the machines weren’t bothered by our existence, or at least, if they were, they weren’t bothered enough to bother us. They certainly didn’t seem to require anything of us or have any need of us at all—if they had needed us, they probably would have enslaved us. But they hadn’t. Enslaved us that is.

The machines hadn’t done anything to us really. Except take over the world—and it was their world now. It certainly wasn’t ours.

We were outsiders, strangers really. We looked in on their world. They didn’t acknowledge us. They probably didn’t even consider us a part of their world. Just as we didn’t consider the small things that crawled beneath our feet as part of our world.

Matthew told us it wasn’t the machines who killed us. Matthew being the only one here now who remembered when we drove the automobiles, flew on the airplanes, and rode on cars behind the locomotives. He said most of us just died. Us being the human race.

I didn’t believe that. I believed we died of neglect. The neglect of the machines. The machines who cared not enough to kill or enslave us.

Luke would have called it benign neglect. Luke being the one who taught me to read and write my letters and words. He knew all the fancy words. He taught me everything really. He remembered—I didn’t. Don’t, really. These words—his really as much as my own.

But Luke was gone. Is gone really, if you don’t mind me slipping into the present. Luke said it’s wrong to slip from past to present or present to past, but I do. The present is—and Luke isn’t. The past was—and sometimes I can see it.


After the Machines is a story unlike any other you’ve ever read. It’s the story of us, the humans who struggle to survive in a world we no longer control.

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