The dissolute scion of a powerful merchant family, and a woman living in seclusion with only her dog and her demons for company, have become infected by a copies of a powerful chunk of alien code.
Driven to discover what it wants from them, they become caught up in a conflict between a policeman allied to the Jackaroo and the laminated brain of a scientific wizard, and a mystery that spans light years and centuries. Humanity is about to discover why the Jackaroo came to help us, and how that help is shaping the end of human history.
“Vinge is one of the best visionary writers of SF today.” —David Brin
Thousands of years in the future, humanity is no longer alone in a universe where a mind's potential is determined by its location in space, from superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures, and technology, can function. Nobody knows what strange force partitioned space into these "regions of thought," but when the warring Straumli realm use an ancient Transcendent artifact as a weapon, they unwittingly unleash an awesome power that destroys thousands of worlds and enslaves all natural and artificial intelligence.
Ten years have passed on Tines World, and Ravna and the children have survived a war. While there is peace among the Tines, there are those among them—and among the humans—who seek power...and no matter the cost, these malcontents are determined to overturn the fledgling civilization that has taken root since the humans landed.
Tor books by Vernor Vinge
The Peace War
Marooned in Realtime
Tatja Grimm's World
Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge
The Jackaroo have given humanity fifteen worlds and the means to reach them. They're a chance to start over, but they're also littered with ruins and artifacts left by the Jackaroo's previous clients.
Miracles that could reverse the damage caused by war, climate change, and rising sea levels. Nightmares that could forever alter humanity - or even destroy it.
Chloe Millar works in London, mapping changes caused by imported scraps of alien technology. When she stumbles across a pair of orphaned kids possessed by an ancient ghost, she must decide whether to help them or to hand them over to the authorities. Authorities who believe that their visions point towards a new kind of danger.
And on one of the Jackaroo's gift-worlds, the murder of a man who has just arrived from Earth leads policeman Vic Gayle to a war between rival gangs over possession of a remote excavation site.
Something is coming through. Something linked to the visions of Chloe's orphans, and Vic Gayle's murder investigation. Something that will challenge the limits of the Jackaroo's benevolence ...