The Last Days of Krypton: A Novel

The Last Days of Krypton: A Novel

4.3 64
by Kevin J. Anderson
     
 

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Before the cataclysm that sent the infant Kal-El rocketing toward a remarkable future as Earth’s indestructible protector, his home planet Krypton flourished. Before treachery, technology, and nature conspired to doom an unparalleled civilization, the brilliant scientist Jor-El and the beautiful artist and historian Lara met, fell in love, and married. There

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Overview

Before the cataclysm that sent the infant Kal-El rocketing toward a remarkable future as Earth’s indestructible protector, his home planet Krypton flourished. Before treachery, technology, and nature conspired to doom an unparalleled civilization, the brilliant scientist Jor-El and the beautiful artist and historian Lara met, fell in love, and married. There were great heroes in those halcyon days. And there were just as many villains: the evil android Brainiac, who planned to capture the capital city of Kandor; the diabolical General Zod, who used lies and chaos to seize power and usher in an era of cruelty, repression, and terror.

And through it all, an inescapable violence loomed ever closer—a catastrophic destiny foretold by Jor-El that would reshape humankind forever....

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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
Kirkus Reviews
Apocalypse Then. Its prose aptly-on occasion annoyingly-portentous, this Superman prequel is action-packed, depicting a lost world in fanatic detail. In pop myth, Krypton is Atlantis-all the more fascinating for its murky mystery. Anderson (Of Fire and Night, 2006, etc.) has combed decades of Clark Kent lore to craft a chronicle true to the DC Comics legend. The origin tale of Superman's home planet, however, has been sketchy, leaving Anderson a wide-screen canvas to fill. And he's a zesty painter. We get a culture groaningly Roman-crowds cheering races of hrakkas ("brawny short-legged lizards"), before repairing to indolent evenings at levitating ballets and "opera tapestries." The indolence is the rub. Because Krypton is doomed! Jor-El and Zor-El alone know this and, as the planet's scientific geniuses, they're Ayn Rand-ish titans, masterminds scorned by the herd. Most Kryptonians are carb-loaded with self-satisfaction, and like China in the Age of Magellan, the civilization has poutingly turned its back on hi-tech, beyond-its-borders exploration. As Krypton's Rao, its red sun and tutelary god, threatens to go supernova and explode, and as the planet is also threatened at its core by volcanic eruption, these superbrothers mount an against-the-odds mission to stop the crash. From here Anderson sends the plot into overdrive. He's better at conveying the pathos of this damned Eden: "To Zor-El, the impending loss of Argo City, of Krypton, made everything seem more beautiful . . . "Sci-fi of Miltonic ambition.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062219855
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
12/04/2012
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.97(d)

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The Last Days of Krypton


By Kevin Anderson

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Kevin Anderson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061340741

Chapter One

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.



Continues...

Excerpted from The Last Days of Krypton by Kevin Anderson Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Anderson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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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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Last Days of Krypton (Superman Series) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
Greedo More than 1 year ago
Another great book by Kevin J Anderson. I love how he takes all that Krypton lore that DC has seeped out over the last 100 years and compiles it all into a thrilling story. Great job! 5 stars.
Robert_J_Wilson More than 1 year ago
Anderson's "The Last Days of Krypton" adds astonishing depth to an oft-overlooked portion of the vast Superman mythos. A life-long fan of Superman, learning more about Kal-El's birthplace and the thrilling exploits of his biological family as Krypton hovered on the precipice of doom was a great treat. The rise and fall of Zod, the love between Jor-El and Lara, the bond of brotherhood between Jor-El and Zor-El.all fantastic adventures that had never been told with such detail. I highly recommend this book to other Superman fans and only wish that there were more eBooks featuring DC Comics characters.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Jor-El is the greatest scientist that Krypton has ever known, but few of his discoveries are approved by Commissioner Dru-Zod of the Commission for Technology Acceptance. The Kryptonian Council is insular and fears new technology could be made into a weapon of mass destruction. Thus society stagnates while space travel is forbidden and other creative theories outlawed using the patriotic rationalization that Krypton is perfect. When the alien Donodon lands, he and Jor-El become friends from the onset however an accident happens and the alien dies. The Kryptonian Council blames Jor-El and intends to send him to prison for murder, but Brainiac shrinks the capital city of Kandor taking it with him in a bottle. Zod takes advantage of the power vacuum and the fears of the people to get them to follow his leadership. He uses Jor-El to gain weapons in exchange for scientific research. Jor-El saves the planet from a comet, but his actions make Zod realize the peaceful scientist could be a threat to his plans. --- THE LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON is a journey into an advanced but stultified culture in which political agendas stifle science and technology from advancing. The story line focuses on a hero Jor-El who with his wife Lara and brother Zor-El of Argo City put the people¿s need before their own. Although the action is somewhat limited by the insight into Krypton society especially Zod¿s personal agenda to stifle science from interfering with his plans, fans of Superman will appreciate the interesting look at his biological parents. --- Harriet Klausner
sci-fi-junkie More than 1 year ago
This novel allows the reader to delve into many characters that have been mere sketches and pieces of a world described but never explored. I note Anderson among my favorite authors. And as a Superman fan since I could walk, I couldn't resist picking up this book. Though the story is only indirectly about Superman, the book isn't any less interesting. This book is easy to read, occasionally whimsical, and always compelling. This book is for both Superman and non-Superman fans.
Kataman1 More than 1 year ago
Mr. Anderson has wound together a wonderful "science fiction" tale that stands on its own away from the comic book universe. You would not need to be familiar with the Superman story to enjoy this book which addresses politics, greed, human tragedy and many other intriguing themes. The book answers all the questions that many Superman readers have always asked such as: * With all of Krypton's great science, why was only Ka-el spared the destruction of the planet? * How was Krypton actually destroyed? * Who was Zod and what evil deeds did he do? * What really happened to Kandor? * What is actually the story behind the use of The Phantom Zone? I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone that likes a good science fiction story!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just as he did with 'Captain Nemo', Anderson manages to weave a coherent story out of many loose plot lines. Drawing on elements from both the comic book and movie series, the doomed world of Krypton comes alive, if only to meet its fate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are a Superman fan and love to read, you will love this book! Best vision of Krypton i have ever seen! I could not put this book down!
Sean_From_OHIO More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure how in this world, or any other, Anderson wrote a story I already knew but still surprised and thrilled me. To say I loved this book would be a huge understatement. I'm not a big Superman but I loved this story and the best thing about it, it that you don't need to know anything about Superman to enjoy the tale. However, if you do know some of the history, it'll be even more enjoyable. Krypton's history was fantastic and immense and I could go on forever. Seriously, a great piece of fiction.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Superman is bae abd my fam! And one question peeps how meny pages is it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Join withh the heading SUPERMAN
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have the paperback book and I love the story of Krypton's fall
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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MRTrundle More than 1 year ago
Great novel. Tells the story of Kal'El's (Superman) parents in an entertaining and absorbing story that is riveting enough to be a canon origin story in the DC Universe. I heard Mr. Anderson read the first chapter in this book before its publishing and was addicted from that moment. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Superman.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IBJESTER More than 1 year ago
Since nineteen forty eight I have been a fan of Superman, starting with the comic book series when I was three years of age. Even though I had not been taught to read at that age, schooling was not as advanced as it is today, I was able to glean the basic idea from the fantastic artwork upon those pages. Whenever a new copy came to the corner drugstore I would purchase a ten cent copy and be lost in another epic adventure. This continued through the seventh grade when I was forced by my stepfather to truly read a novel from cover to cover instead of scanning it for a school book report. Trying only to show me the magic of the written word where I hated reading in itself, my stepfather did not know that he would turn me into a novel a day fanatic. Unfortunately this lead to my leaving the comic books behind and the only stories of Superman I would see were on television or at the movies. Needless to say when novels abut Superman started to come out, I was overjoyed. However with the few books that were on the market none of them covered what Krypton or its people was actually like. "THE LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON" painted that word picture for me and I could image what I had long awaited to hear and see. I believe the Kevin J. Anderson tried to keep his story line close to what one would find in a comic book, to give it the feel one would get for scanning the pages in that format. In that, he did very well and I commend him for that accomplishment. If you wish to acquire a more precise picture that fills in a lot of the unanswered questions, then this is the book for you to read.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Kevin J. Anderson in his new book, "The Last Days Of Krypton" published by It Books gives us an adventure on Superman's home planet, Krypton, with his father, Jor-El, before Krypton explodes. From the back cover: Before the cataclysm that sent the infant Kal-El rocketing toward a remarkable future as Earth's indestructible protector, his home planet Krypton flourished. Before treachery, technology, and nature conspired to doom an unparalleled civilization, the brilliant scientist Jor-El and the beautiful artist and historian Lara met, fell in love, and married. There were great heroes in those halcyon days. And there were just as many villains: the evil android Brainiac, who planned to capture the capital city of Kandor; the diabolical General Zod, who used lies and chaos to seize power and usher in an era of cruelty, repression, and terror. And through it all, an inescapable violence loomed ever closer--a catastrophic destiny foretold by Jor-El that would reshape humankind forever.... When I was a kid I was like a lot of other Superman fans I just could not get enough Krypton stories that mostly featured Jor-El, Superman's father. The writers back then made Krypton such a wonderful place full of great places to visit, advanced science and villains. Now Mr. Anderson has taken all the history of Krypton before it exploded pieced it all together and has given us an epic adventure. He who will become the villainous General Zod is just a Commissioner in this story but he takes over control of Krypton. Opposing him are the El brothers, Jor-El and Zor-El. Immense evil versus incredible good and the fate of Krypton rests on the outcome. We can clearly see that Superman's heroism is genetic as Jor-El fights for his planet and his people. Mr. Anderson has written a thriller as Jor-El's life is in great danger as he takes a stand against Zod. He has also written one of the absolute best stories that I have read this year! There is so much going on that you really will not want to do anything else until you finish this book. Mr. Anderson has given us a highly entertaining story that is very imaginative. I would like more stories from Mr. Anderson please. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from It Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It was an amazing/different story.
ZarathustraMike More than 1 year ago
Been a Superman fan for 60 years... I bought this book after seeing Man of Steel, and I'm really enjoying it. I just wish I had more time to read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took me about 6 days to read it was hard to put down the first time
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can not believe that the martian manhunter is in this book, even if the appearance is for about page
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If anyone ever wondered what happened in the last days of Krypton here you go. For any Superman fan