With this, his third novel, Paul J. McAuley stopped being merely promising and entered the front rank of British SF authors. The galactic backdrop already visited in his earlier books Four Hundred Billion Stars
and Secret Harmonies
here opens out at huge and exhilarating scale. Our galaxy is infested with quarrelling factions of the irrationally hostile alien Alea, against whose colonies the crumbling and partly decadent human Federation wages a depressing, genocidal war of self-defence. Now an anomalous star travelling at daunting speed has arrived from the galactic core and offers rapid wormhole transit to the centre--where ambitious Alea are building the most gigantic habitats in SF, hyperstructures light-years across. This project's use of energies from outside the universe endangers the cosmos: "Something is rubbing the fabric of space-time thin enough to allow creation to shine through." Only pure mathematical weaponry supplied by advanced "angels" from a fractal reality can stop the unravelling of space. But the ramshackle human mission to the core is beset by strife, religious fanaticism, greed and mutiny, and looks set for bloody failure even before the Alea unleash their own superweapon. A rich, crowded novel that combines exotic descriptions, slam-bang action and a mind-blowing secret history of the universe. --David Langford
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Ambitious ideas-driven space opera from the stylistic master of British SF.