Beyond Infinftyby Gregory Benford
Takes a scientist's imagination to the uttermost ends of time. Set more than a billion years from now, the novel begins with a young woman who yearns to escape the rigid, timeless Earth she knows. So she flees, in the company of an intelligent beast wise beyond recognition. But there are mysterious forces afoot among the planets that she never foresaw. Alien
Takes a scientist's imagination to the uttermost ends of time. Set more than a billion years from now, the novel begins with a young woman who yearns to escape the rigid, timeless Earth she knows. So she flees, in the company of an intelligent beast wise beyond recognition. But there are mysterious forces afoot among the planets that she never foresaw. Alien agencies have learned to span parallel universes, ones that lie only a millimeter away but are invisible to any device known to man. Soon these beings confront the travelers and a struggle beyond imagining begins.
- Grand Central Publishing
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.94(d)
- Age Range:
- 13 Years
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By Gregory Benford
Warner AspectCopyright © 2004 Gregory Benford
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe attack had come in a savage, fire-bright moment.
It began with strange droplets coasting on the air, shimmering, murmuring. Floodlights had ringed a gray, chipped slab, where she worked with Kurani. Recently opened passages far into the Library labyrinth had yielded complicated new puzzles in data-slabs. They were reading out a curious string of phrases in a long-dead language, from a society that had reached the peak of mathematical wisdom, or so the historians said.
The floating, humming motes distracted her. Unlike the familiar microtech that pervaded the Library performing tasks, these shifted and scintillated in the hard spotlight glare.
Kurani ignored them. His powers of concentration were vast and pointed. He had just discovered that these ancient people had used numbers not as nouns or adjectives, but to modify verbs, words of action. Instead of "see those three trees," they would say something like, "the living things manifesting treeness here act visibly as a collection divided to the extent of three."
She remembered Kurani's furrowed brow, his quizzical interrogation of distant resource libraries as he struggled with this conceptual gulf. These ancients had used number systems that recognized three bases-ten, twelve, and five-and were rooted in the body, with its five toes and six fingers. So grounded in the flesh, what insights did the ancients reach in far more rarefied pursuits? Scholars had already found a deep fathoming of the extra dimensions known to exist in the universe. The slab before Cley and Kurani spoke of experiments in dimensional transport, all rendered in a strangely canted manner.
Cley had kept her focus as tightly wrapped around this problem as she could. She found such abstractions engulfing.
But the motes ... and suddenly she looked up at a new source of light. The motes were tumbling in a field of amber glitter. Sharp blue shards of brilliance lanced into her eyes. The motes were not microtech but windows into another place, where hard radiance rumbled and fought.
She had turned to Kurani to warn him-
-and the world was sliced. Cut into thin parallel sheets, each showing a different part of Kurani, sectioned neatly by a mad geometer.
But this was not illusion, not a mere refraction in the air. He was divided, slashed crosswise. She could see into his red interior, organs working, pulsing. She stepped toward him-
Then came the fire, hot pain, and screaming. She remembered running. The motes swept after her, and she was trying to get away from the terrible screams. Only when she gasped for breath did she realize that the screams had come from her.
She had made herself stop. Turned, for a moment that would haunt her forever. Looked back down a long stony corridor that tapered to infinity-and Kurani was at the other end, not running. Impaled on blades of light. Sliced. Writhing.
And then, to her shame, she had turned and run away. Without another backward glance. Terrified.
The memory came sharply into her. The bare fossil outlines of later events swelled up, filling her throat, the past pressing to get out.
Finding a dozen of a neighboring Meta cowering in a passageway. Fidgeting with fear. They had to shout themselves hoarse in the thundering violence.
Then the booming eased away. Crackling energies came instead.
The other Naturals said the attacks raged through all the valleys of the Library. They were being pursued by a rage beyond comprehension. Let the Supras fight it if they could.
They would be hunted like rats here. She agreed-they had to get out, into the forest.
The seething air in the passageway became prickly. A sound like fat frying grew near. No one could stand and wait for it.
She went down a side tunnel. The other Originals fled toward the main passage. Better to run and hide alone than in a straggling rabble. But the tunnel ceiling got lower as she trotted, then walked, finally duckwalked.
She cowered far back in the tunnel, alone in blackness. Stabs of virulent lightning forked in the distance and splashed the tunnel walls with an ivory glow. Getting closer. In one of the flashes she saw tiny designs in the tunnel wall.
Her fingers found the pattern. Ancient, a two-tiered language. A ... combination? Plan?
She extruded a finger into a tool wedge and tracked along the grooves. It was telling a tale of architectural detail she could not follow very well, reading at high speed through the tool. She sensed a sense-phrase, inserted in the middle of an extended brag about the design. It referred to an inlet-or maybe outlet. A two-valence, anyway. Okay, okay-but where?
More snapping flashes, emerald now. Nearer. Could they hear her?
She inched farther into the tunnel. Her head bumped the ceiling; the rough bore was narrowing. In another quick glimmer, followed by an electrical snarl, she saw a web of symbol tracks, impossible to follow. So damn much history! Where's the door?
She scrunched farther in. The web tapered down into a shallow track, and she got her finger wedged in. Ah! Codes. She twisted, probed-and the wall flopped open into another tunnel.
She crawled through, trying to be quiet. A glowing brown snake was coming after her down the tunnel. She slammed the curved hatch in its face.
Pitch-black. At least the lightning had shown her what was going on. She sat absolutely still. Faint thunder and a trembling in the floor. This tunnel was round and-a soft breeze.
She crawled toward it. Not even height to duckwalk. The slight wind got stronger. Cool to her fevered brow.
Smells: dust, leaves? A dull thump behind her. She hurried, banging her knees-
-and spilled halfway out into clear air. Above, stars. A drop of about her height, onto dirt. She reversed and dropped to the ground. Scent of dry dirt. Flashes to the left. She went right.
She ran. Snapping crashes behind her. Dim shapes up ahead. Trees? A rising sucking sound behind. A brittle thrust of amber fire rushed over her left shoulder and shattered into a bush-exploding it into flames.
Trees-she dodged left. Faint screams somewhere.
The sucking sound again. Into the trees, heels digging in hard.
Another amber bolt, this time roasting the air near her. It veered up and ignited a crackling bower of fronds.
Screams getting louder. Up ahead? Glows there. She went right, down a gully, splashing across a stream. Not deep enough to cover her.
A spark sizzled down from the air into the trees up ahead. She went left and found a wall of brambles. Distant flickering gave her enough light to pick her way along, gasping. Around the brambles, into thick trees. She crossed the stream again. Deeper here. Downstream went back toward the open, toward the excavated tunnels. She ran upstream. The sucking rush came stealing up behind. She dodged, ducked, dodged. Stay near the stream. If the water got deeper-
The pain swarmed over her and pushed her into blackness.
Excerpted from Beyond Infinity by Gregory Benford Copyright © 2004 by Gregory Benford. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Gregory Benford (born January 30, 1941) is an American science fiction author and astrophysicist who is on the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine. As a science fiction author, Benford is perhaps best known for the Galactic Center Saga novels, beginning with In the Ocean of Night. He is also the author of the Nebula Award-winning classic book Timescape — a combination of hard science, bold speculation, and human drama.
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After eons of being trapped by the gravity of a black hole, the interrelated magnetic fields called the Malign escapes its prison. The essence detests organic matter and blames humans for the incarceration. Vengeance sends the Malign towards earth.................................. Humanity has evolved over the billions of years since mankind first ventured to the moon. Cley is an Original, a genetic remake of the oldest known human species and the last of the ¿Mohegans¿ due to an attack by the Malign, at least that is what the genetically reengineered Supras insist happened. The Supras consider Cley as an inferior pet, but she knows that her wardens are hiding part of the truth from her. She plans to learn what really happened to her race, but first must escape from her zookeepers. Abetted by an ET, Cley begins her journey to learn to learn what the Malign is and why did this creature commit genocide?......................... BEYOND INFINITY is a terrific futuristic science fiction tale that predicts the path of physics in a realistic extension of what is known or theorized today, but within a terse thriller that hooks the reader from the start. The physics aspects are deftly interwoven as underpins to the exhilarating plot. The marvelous tale combines a coming of age subplot along the lines of Luke in Star Wars with that of a Galactus-like being threatening much of the galaxy. Gregory Benford provides a tremendous novel that will send new fans seeking his works (some of the best are out there) and old readers just shaking their heads that the guru has done it again.................... Harriet Klausner
WHAT is the Youtube video going to be about?