For millennia, the Shaa have subjugated the universe, forcing the myriad sentient races to bow to their joyless tyranny. But the Shaa will soon be no more. The dread empire is in its rapidly fading twilight, and with its impending fall comes the promise of a new galactic order . . . and bloody chaos.
A young Terran naval officer marked by his lowly birth, Lt. Gareth Martinez is the first to recognize the insidious plot of the Naxid -- the powerful, warlike insectoid society that was enslaved before all others -- to replace the masters’ despotic rule with their own. Barely escaping a swarming surprise attack, Martinez and Caroline Sula, a pilot whose beautiful face conceals a deadly secret, are now the last hope for freedom for every being who ever languished in Shaa chains -- as the interstellar battle begins against a merciless foe whose only perfect truth is annihilation.
Walter Jon Williams is a New York Times bestselling author who has been nominated repeatedly for every major SF award, including Hugo and Nebula Awards nominations for his novel City on Fire. His most recent books are The Sundering, The Praxis, Destiny’s Way, and The Rift. Mr. Williams lives near Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife, Kathleen Hedges.
--Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief, Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao
When you play one of Dagmar’s online games, you can’t just shut down the computer and walk away. The games pursue you into real life: you start getting emails and phone calls from fictional characters, perfect strangers ask you to help solve their problems, and sometimes you’re asked to volunteer for a mission to discover a vital clue.
But now something is pursuing Dagmar.
From the anarchy of a street riot in Indonesia to the brutality of a Mafia killing in Los Angeles, from the seedy glitz of Hollywood to the ruthless international currency market, Dagmar finds herself at the center of an intrigue far more desperate than those she devises for entertainment.
And somehow, she knows, the key to the puzzle lies in her own past, and the gaming group she joined in college.
Dagmar must draw on all her skill to defeat the nightmare that pursues her, not the least of which is her circle of online gamers whose well-honed puzzle-solving skills may be necessary to preserve her life.
This Is Not a Game. And there is no Second Life.
“Williams (The Rift) weaves intriguing questions about games, gamers and their relationships with real life into this well-paced near-future thriller.” --Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
“This Is Not a Game is a compelling mystery, one that threateningly demands—like a militant nun, ruler in hand, your knuckles spread before her—for you to continue, to finish. Stopping, it’s not an option. It’s not even a thought. You turn the pages of the book not just to get answers, but to get the questions, also. And neither disappoint. There is no letdown, no clumsy resolution, no descent into lameness. Everything works, the story coming together beautifully like a well-played game of chess, Williams maneuvering the reader, skillfully. Like a pawn. A very happy pawn. –Paul Stotts
“Williams, from his own experience, knows how these games work and how the participants react, and the result is that This Is Not a Game succeeds only as a suspense novel, but as an incisive portrait of a subculture for whom reality is increasingly contingent, and increasingly mediated.” --Gary Wolfe, Locus
“Combines droll satire, cyber-fu knowingness, ingenious extrapolation, social commentary, and techno-thriller suspense.” --SciFiWire.com
“[An] eerily prophetic thriller.”--- SFX
Mark Twain may be the most celebrated man in the world, but his alter ego Sam Clemens is tottering through life, disillusioned by the massacres and madness of the human race and stalked by guilt over the deaths of his children, his brother, and his wife. Sam’s friend, the brilliant scientist Nikola Tesla, creates dazzling new technologies that may transform the world--- but as Sam discovers, Tesla’s inventions may not belong to him, but might instead be the calculating creations of an malevolent intelligence from beyond the Earth.
Mark Twain might be able to save the world, but first Sam Clemens must make up his mind whether the “damned human race” is worth saving.
In “The Boolean Gate,” Walter Jon Williams continues his brilliant series of stories about writers, and brings to life the milieu and the towering personalities of America’s Gilded Age.
“This one is 99% historical fact, although readers unfamiliar with the career of Tesla may think it’s the stuff of science fiction. Tesla was a science fiction writer’s dream made flesh, with also a bit of the mad scientist in the mix . . . but the story really belongs to Sam Clemens, who was in fact Tesla’s friend.”
Lois Tilton, Locus
‘‘Despite the Ragtime-like sense of a slice of Gilded Age life among the historically prominent, this really is SF… Once again, Williams demonstrates the range of his writerly chops.’’
Russell Letson, Locus