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Peter Watts

Firefall

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February 13, 2082, First Contact. Sixty-two thousand objects of unknown origin plunge into Earth's atmosphere – a perfect grid of falling stars screaming across the radio spectrum as they burn. Not even ashes reach the ground. Three hundred and sixty degrees of global surveillance: something just took a snapshot.

And then… nothing.

But from deep space, whispers. Something out there talks – but not to us. Two ships, Theseus and the Crown of Thorns, are launched to discover the origin of Earth's visitation, one bound for the outer dark of the Kuiper Belt, the other for the heart of the Solar System.

Their crews can barely be called human, what they will face certainly can't.

'A tour de force, redefining the First Contact story for good.' Charles Stross.

'If you only read one science fiction novel this year, make it this one!… it puts the whole of the rest of the genre in the shade… It deserves to walk away with the Clarke, the Hugo, the Nebula, the BSFA, and pretty much any other genre award for which it's eligible. It's off the scale… F**king awesome!' Richard Morgan.

'State-of-the-art science fiction: smart, dark and it grabs you by the throat from page one' Neal Ascher.

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    henrikjohnsen21912alıntı yaptı2 yıl önce
    "I was expecting hallucinations in the field," I admitted, "but up here?"
    "TMS effects—" Szpindel snapped his fingers— "they're sticky, eh? Neurons get kicked into one state, take a while to come unstuck. You never got a TAT? Well-adjusted boy like you?"
    "Once or twice," I said. "Maybe."
    "Same principle."
    "So I'm going to keep seeing this stuff."
    "Party line is they fade over time. Week or two you're back to normal. But out here, with that thing..." He shrugged. "Too many variables. Not the least of which is, I assume we'll keep going back until Sarasti says otherwise."
    "But they're basically magnetic effects."
    "Probably. Although I'm not betting on anything where that fucker's concerned."
    "Could something else be causing them?" I asked. "Something on this ship?"
    "Like what?'
    "I don't know. Leakage in Theseus' magnetic shielding, maybe."
    "Not normally. Course, we've all got little implanted networks in our heads, eh? And you've got a whole hemisphere of prosthetics up there, who knows what kind of side-effects those might let you in for. Why? Rorschach not a good enough reason for you?"
    I saw them before, I might have said.
    And then Szpindel would say Oh, when? Where?
    And maybe I'd reply When I was spying on your private life, and any chance of noninvasive observation would be flushed down to the atoms.
    "It's probably nothing. I've just been—jumpy lately. Thought I saw something weird in the spinal bundle, back before we landed on Rorschach. Just for a second, you know, and it disappeared as soon as I focused on it."
    henrikjohnsen21912alıntı yaptı2 yıl önce
    "The system understands. The whole Room, with all its parts. The guy who does the scribbling is just one component. You wouldn't expect a single neuron in your head to understand English, would you?"
    henrikjohnsen21912alıntı yaptı2 yıl önce
    People simply can't accept that patterns carry their own intelligence, quite apart from the semantic content that clings to their surfaces; if you manipulate the topology correctly, that content just—comes along for the ride.

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