The Clockwork Rocket by Greg Egan | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Clockwork Rocket

The Clockwork Rocket

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by Greg Egan
     
 

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In Yalda's universe, light has no universal speed and its creation generates energy.

On Yalda's world, plants make food by emitting their own light into the dark night sky.

As a child Yalda witnesses one of a series of strange meteors, the Hurtlers, that is entering the planetary system at an immense, unprecedented speed. It becomes apparent that her world is

Overview


In Yalda's universe, light has no universal speed and its creation generates energy.

On Yalda's world, plants make food by emitting their own light into the dark night sky.

As a child Yalda witnesses one of a series of strange meteors, the Hurtlers, that is entering the planetary system at an immense, unprecedented speed. It becomes apparent that her world is in imminent danger—and that the task of dealing with the Hurtlers will require knowledge and technology far beyond anything her civilization has yet achieved.

Only one solution seems tenable: if a spacecraft can be sent on a journey at suffi ciently high speed, its trip will last many generations for those on board, but it will return after just a few years have passed at home. The travelers will have a chance to discover the science their planet urgently needs, and bring it back in time to avert disaster.

Orthogonal is the story of Yalda and her descendants, trying to survive the perils of their long mission and carve out meaningful lives for themselves, while the threat of annihilation hangs over the world they left behind.

Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science fiction (space opera, time travel, hard SF, alien invasion, near-future dystopia), fantasy (grimdark, sword and sorcery, contemporary urban fantasy, steampunk, alternative history), and horror (zombies, vampires, and the occult and supernatural), and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller, a national bestseller, or a Hugo or Nebula award-winner, we are committed to publishing quality books from a diverse group of authors.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Scientific treatise (with charts and diagrams) melds with character study and social commentary in Hugo-winner Egan's stand-alone steampunk SF novel. On a faraway world with technology and culture roughly analogous to those of our Victorian era, the female polymorph Yalda studies the properties of light and discovers a celestial object that seems certain to strike her planet. A society that harshly subjugates women (easy when childbirth inevitably kills the mother) works against her as she tries to build and launch a rocket that will take her people to safety. Difficult, dense scientific conjecturing makes this a nearly impenetrable read for those lacking physics degrees or superior spatial thinking, but the societal analogy, totally alien culture, and intriguing characters are potent reasons to power through. (Aug.)
Library Journal
The arrival of a prolonged meteor shower spells danger for Yalda's world, part of a universe in which time and space are not differentiated and light has no universal speed. Yalda and others who share her view of impending doom conceive a plan to launch a rocket that moves at hyperspeed, fast enough to cancel the effects of time on its voyage and buy time for scientists to discover how to save their world. Egan introduces a fascinating alien species that reproduces through the division (and death) of the mother into two sets of twins. The struggle of the planet's females to make sense of a life cut short by the act of giving birth weighs heavily on the mind of the story's central character, yet the discovery of new physics takes precedence over everything else. The characters are fully realized individuals who, though they bear no resemblance to humans, reflect on their place in the universe and the meaning of their lives. VERDICT This trilogy launch by the author of Zendegi and Incandescence is an intellectually stimulating tale (complete with diagrams illustrating an alternate physics) that will appeal to fans of hard science in their sf as well as to Egan's followers and admirers of Larry Niven and John Scalzi.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781597802925
Publisher:
Night Shade Books
Publication date:
08/07/2012
Series:
Orthogonal
Pages:
344
Sales rank:
748,081
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 8.82(h) x 0.92(d)

Meet the Author


Greg Egan is a computer programmer, and the author of the acclaimed SF novels Diaspora, Quarantine, Permutation City, and Teranesia. He has won the Hugo Award as well as the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. His short fiction has been published in a variety of places, including Interzone, Asimov’s, and Nature. He lives in Perth.

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