From the Publisher
“This is what SF is supposed to be about: Discovery as carried out by real people. A joy to read; a superb novel.” Jack McDevitt, author of Odyssey
“Likeable characters facing big ethical dilemmas…[a] smoothly readable near-future SF novel.” Publisher's Weekly, starred review
“Sawyer's near-future speculative fiction reveals many advances in medicine and robotics. But it's the humanness of the closeness (and the distance) between Sarah and Don that makes Rollback an early candidate for sci-fi book of the year.” The Kansas City Star
Canadian author Sawyer (Mindscan) once again presents likable characters facing big ethical dilemmas in this smoothly readable near-future SF novel. Astronomer Sarah Halifax, who translated the first message from aliens and helped prepare humanity's response, is 87 when the second, encrypted message arrives 38 years later. To aid the decoding, a tycoon buys rejuvenation treatment for Sarah and Don, her husband of 60 years; however, only Don becomes young again. While coping with the physical indignities of old age, Sarah tries to figure out the puzzle of the second message. The bond between Don and Sarah continues, even while Don is joyfully and guiltily discovering the pleasures of living in a young body again. They want to do what's right for each other and the rest of humanityâ€”for the aliens, tooâ€”if they can figure out what "right" could be. By its nature, a story about moral choices tends to get talky, but the talk is intelligent and performed by sympathetic and believable people. Sawyer, who has won Hugo and Nebula awards, may well win another major SF award with this superior effort. (Apr.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Nearly 40 years have passed since Dr. Sarah Halifax cracked an encoded message from an alien intelligence. A second encoded message presages the start of a human-alien dialog, and Sarah, now in her eighties, is offered a rare rejuvenation procedure to enable her to live long enough to usher in a new era. When the process succeeds for her husband but fails for her, she must continue her efforts at breaking the new code while coping with a husband with whom she can no longer grow old. Sawyer (Calculating God), winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards, is no stranger to controversial issues. This tale raises many questions about the ethics of life extension. Above all, the author's characters bear their human strengths and weaknesses with dignity and poise. An elegantly told story for all libraries; highly recommended.