Alpha Centauri

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Overview

The word in the year 2239 is that the human race is doomed. With the Earth groaning beneath the weight of 200 billion people and with the limit of derivable scientific knowledge frighteningly close at hand, scientists believe the human race will crash, burn and vanish by the end of the twenty-third century. The last hope of humanity travels with Captain Virginia Vonzell Qing-an, her androgynous lover, and eleven other crew members aboard Earth's first starship, Mother Night, on a colonizing mission to Alpha ...
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Overview

The word in the year 2239 is that the human race is doomed. With the Earth groaning beneath the weight of 200 billion people and with the limit of derivable scientific knowledge frighteningly close at hand, scientists believe the human race will crash, burn and vanish by the end of the twenty-third century. The last hope of humanity travels with Captain Virginia Vonzell Qing-an, her androgynous lover, and eleven other crew members aboard Earth's first starship, Mother Night, on a colonizing mission to Alpha Centauri - the closest, most likely place to find worlds suitable for human habitation. It is the adventure of a lifetime, but plagued from the onset by programming errors, structural damage and irresponsible death. But a different kind of plague could doom the assignment and, ultimately, the civilization that conceived it. A terrorist group, Indigo, has infiltrated the ship - single-minded true believers convinced that the only cure for their world's population problems is rampant, viral-induced, sexually transmitted sterilization. And the stakes are about to reach astronomical proportions. Because an artifact exists on a rocky moon called Atalanta, an impossibly ancient remnant of an alien race that offers possible solutions to humanity's gravest dilemma - and a hope and knowledge beyond present mortal comprehension - but only if Mother Night's besieged mission can somehow, miraculously, be salvaged.
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Editorial Reviews

Locus
Barton and Capobianco are a team to watch out for.
Science Fiction Weekly
A rich and absorbing odyssey through both deep space and the dark territories of the human heart. It's jam-packed with strange vistas, intriguing ideas and stylish writing.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The coauthors of the SF thriller Iris collaborate on another tale of human lust and limitation set among the stars. In the year 2239, with the human race bursting the seams of the solar system, the Earth launches starships in the hope of finding another habitable world. The crew of Mother Night, a resourceful band of scientists, engineers and biologists, is assigned the binary system of Alpha Centauri. Although Captain Virginia Vonzell Qing-an and her shipmates, including her female transsexual lover and the traitorous Mies Cochrane, don't find a new Earth, they do stumble across an explosive discoverysigns of intelligent, alien life. While the crew investigates this mystery, there are plenty of intimate intrigues below decks, with partners switching partners and all manner of zero-gee couplings performed with balletic skill. Barton and Capobianco's emphasis on infidelity and sexual addiction pervades the novel, as if to say that, when humanity finally journeys to the stars, we will carry our baser impulses with us. Though blessed with fantastic visions, this space saga is diminished by its gratuitous sex and soap-operatic plotting. July
Library Journal
From a grossly overpopulated Earth in 2239 A.D., an exploratory colonization mission to Alpha Centauri finds Mies Cochrane carrying an autovirus inside him that, after sexual intercourse, halts conceptionthe perfect birth control. The explorers discover the remains of an ancient civilization and a way to see what caused their extinction through the eyes of the last, long-dead inhabitant. The authors Iris, LJ 2/15/90 make a strong statement about overpopulation, solutions to it, and humanity's purpose for existing. This thought-provoking book, a mix of sexually explicit passages and scientific exposition, is recommended for adult sf collections.
Kirkus Reviews
Twenty-third-century exploration of Alpha Centauri, from the authors of Iris (1990). With the solar system overpopulated to the bursting point, the Daiseijin foundation has sent out starships to explore Earth's nearest stellar neighbors. After 14 years in suspended animation, Captain Ginny Qing-an, chief engineer Kai, and the rest of Mother Night's crew arrive at Alpha Centauri, discovering evidence of previous civilizations on planet Pholos. With their time scanner (the physics behind this is ingenious and persuasive), they piece together the history of not one but three intelligent races: the Frogmen; their bitter rivals, the Rhinotaurs, exterminated by the Frogmen; and the mysterious Leospiders, whom the Frogmen apparently served. After millions of years, Pholos grew old and died, but the immortal, fatalistic Leospiders built huge underground repositories of faster-than-light starships and an equally vast mausoleum to house their uncorrupted bodies. The sexually obsessed humans, meanwhile, realize that planetologist Mies Cochrane is a personality construct, programmed by his Indigo masters to sterilize his female partners by means of nanoviruses in his sperm.

Brilliant extrapolations and dazzling speculations obscured by nasty, grim, manipulative sexual contortions: great ideas, disagreeable dramatics.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380782055
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/1998
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 4.24 (w) x 6.95 (h) x 1.23 (d)

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