Leading up to Superman being jettisoned in a capsule to Earth, Anderson reveals the political and private world of Krypton as it descends into chaos and eventual destruction. Superman's father, Jor-El, strives to restore stability to the decaying planet while also dealing with the power-hungry Zod, who has seized power. Though expertly interlacing the various threads of Krypton's mythology, Anderson's novel as a whole feels more like a poor apocalyptic warning to our society mirrored by events such as a tsunami, a world leader with a propaganda machine and a pre-emptive doctrine, and a foreign assault on a Krypton cultural center. Yet Dufris makes the listening very enjoyable. His steady and nuanced narration really shines in his vocal characterizations. He embodies Jor-El in a way that matches the story's mood and reveals the inner turmoil facing the esteemed scientist thrust into the world of politics. He also deftly delivers the character of Zod, eliciting the arrogance and avarice of the aspiring dictator. Simultaneous release with Harper Entertainment hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 13). (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The Last Days of Krypton (Superman Series)by Kevin J. Anderson
The Last Days of Krypton is the epic story of the destruction of the planet Krypton, an explosive event that sent Superman and his legacy to earth. Written by award-winning science fiction writer Kevin J. Anderson, author of the international bestselling Dune prequels, The Last Days of Krypton tells of the marriage of Superman's parents, their/em>/em>
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The Last Days of Krypton is the epic story of the destruction of the planet Krypton, an explosive event that sent Superman and his legacy to earth. Written by award-winning science fiction writer Kevin J. Anderson, author of the international bestselling Dune prequels, The Last Days of Krypton tells of the marriage of Superman's parents, their struggle to save their planet, and the menace of General Zod, future arch-enemy of Superman. It's the story science fiction and Superman fans have been waiting for!
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The Last Days of Krypton
By Kevin Anderson
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 Kevin Anderson
All right reserved.
The red sun of Krypton loomed in the sky, an unquiet giant. In its gaseous layers, planet-sized convection cells churned like the bubbles in a hellish slow-motion cauldron. Wispy coronal streamers danced across the gulf of space, disrupting planetary communications.
Jor-El had been waiting a long time for a flare storm like this. In his isolated laboratory he had monitored his solar probes, eagerly making preparations. The moment was at hand.
The visionary scientist had set up his equipment in the large, open research building on his estate. Jor-El had no assistants because no one else on Krypton understood exactly what he was doing; in fact, few others seemed to care. The people of his planet were content. Too content. By contrast, Jor-El rarely let himself feel complacent or satisfied. How could he, when he could easily imagine so many ways to improve the world? He was a true anomaly in the "perfect society."
Working alone, he calibrated beam paths through crystal concentrators, used laser-alignment tools to adjust the angles of intersecting reflector disks, checked and double-checked his gleaming prisms for any flaws. Because his work pushed the envelope of standard and uninspired Kryptonian science, he had been forcedto develop much of the basic apparatus himself.
When he opened the set of louvered alloy panels in the roof of the research building, scarlet light flooded into the laboratory. Soon, the solar flux would reach the level he required. Keen scientific curiosity gave him more incentive than his awe for the red giant, which the priests had named Rao. He monitored the power levels displayed on flatcrystal gauges.
All the while, the sunlight outside blazed noticeably brighter. The flares continued to build.
Though he was young, Jor-El's distinctive thick hair was as white as bleached ivory, which gave him a regal appearance. The classically handsome features of his face looked as if they were modeled directly from the bust of an ancient Kryptonian nobleman, such as his revered ancestor Sor-El. Some might have thought his blue-eyed gaze distant and preoccupied, but in truth, Jor-El saw a great many things that others did not.
He activated his carefully arranged crystal rods, setting up a harmonic melody of wavelengths. On the rooftop, angled sheet-mirrors clashed their reflections into a central concentrating prism. The crystals stole only a precise segment of the spectrum, then diverted the filtered beam into parabolic mirrorpools made of half-transparent quicksilver. As the sunstorm's intensity increased, the quicksilver mirrors began to ripple and bubble.
According to plan, Jor-El quickly withdrew an amber crystal and inserted it into its proper grid point. The slick facets were already hot against his fingertips. The primary beam splintered into a luminous spiderweb that connected the labyrinth of mirrors and crystals.
In moments, if his experiment worked, Jor-El would break open a doorway into another dimension, a parallel universe—maybe even more than one.
The large and lonely estate many kilometers from Kandor suited Jor-El. His research building was as large as a banquet hall. While other Kryptonian families might have used such a space for masques, feasts, or performances, Jor-El's once-celebrated father had built this entire estate as a celebration of discovery, a place where every question could be investigated regardless of the technophobic restrictions imposed by the Kryptonian Council. Jor-El put these facilities to good use.
For an experiment of this magnitude, he had considered calling his brother from Argo City. Although few could match Jor-El's genius, dark-haired Zor-El, despite his occasional temper, had the same burning need to discover what was yet to be known. In a long-standing cordial rivalry, the two sons of Yar-El often tried to outdo each other. After today, provided this experiment succeeded, he and Zor-El would have a whole new universe to investigate.
Jor-El withdrew another crystal from the control grid, rotated it, and reinserted it. As the lights glowed brighter and the colors intensified, he became entirely engrossed in the phenomena.
Sequestered in their stuffy chambers in the capital city, the eleven-member Kryptonian Council had forbidden the development of any sort of spacecraft, effectively eliminating all possibility of exploring the universe. From ancient records, Kryptonians were well aware of other civilizations in the twenty-eight known galaxies, but the restrictive government insisted on keeping their planet separate "for its own protection." That rule had been in place for so many generations that most people accepted it as a matter of course.
In spite of this, the mystery of other stars and planets had always intrigued Jor-El. Not one to break the law, no matter how frivolous the restrictions might seem, he was nonetheless willing to find ways around it. They could not prevent him from traveling in his imagination.
Yes, the Council had disallowed the construction of spacecraft, but according to Jor-El's calculations, there could be an infinite number of parallel universes, countless alternate Kryptons in which each society might be slightly different. Jor-El could therefore travel in a new way—if only he could open the door to those universes. No spacecraft was necessary. Technically, he would not be breaking any rules.
In the center of the spacious lab, he set a pair of two-meter-wide silver rings spinning to establish a containment field for the singularity he hoped to create. He monitored the power levels. He waited.
When the intensified solar energy reached its peak, a shaft of collected light plunged through the ceiling lens into the center of Jor-El's laboratory like a shaft of fire. The multiplied beams gathered into a single convergence point, then ricocheted into the very fabric of space. The focused blast pummeled reality itself and tore open a hole to somewhere else . . . or nowhere at all.
The silver containment rings intersected, spun faster, and held open a pinprick that expanded in an equilibrium of energy and negative energy. As blinding light poured into the small speck of emptiness, the rip grew as wide as his hand, then the length of his forearm, until at last it stabilized, two meters in diameter, extending to the edge of the rings.
Excerpted from The Last Days of Krypton by Kevin Anderson Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Anderson. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Kevin J. Anderson has published more than eighty novels, including twenty-nine national bestsellers. He has been nominated for the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the SFX Reader's Choice Award. His critically acclaimed original novels include Captain Nemo, Hopscotch, and Hidden Empire. He has also collaborated on numerous series novels, including Star Wars, The X-Files, and Dune. In his spare time, he also writes comic books. He lives in Wisconsin.
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