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Metaplanetary: A Novel of Interplanetary Civil War

Metaplanetary: A Novel of Interplanetary Civil War

5.0 2
by Tony Daniel

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Free download! Peruse "The Metaplanetary Gazetteer," created by the author especially for this PerfectBound e-book.

Once or twice in a score of years, the boundlessly inventive realm of speculative fiction reveals a vision of tomorrow that dwarfs everything that came before. These are the dreams of the Asimovs and the Heinleins, the Bears and the Brins. Now


Free download! Peruse "The Metaplanetary Gazetteer," created by the author especially for this PerfectBound e-book.

Once or twice in a score of years, the boundlessly inventive realm of speculative fiction reveals a vision of tomorrow that dwarfs everything that came before. These are the dreams of the Asimovs and the Heinleins, the Bears and the Brins. Now Tony Daniel brilliantly dreams the future -- and reinvents humanity itself -- in an epic chronicle of civil war and transcendence that plays out on an enormous stage encompassing the solar system in its entirety -- its asteroids, its comets, and all its people, transmuted into astounding forms and living astonishing lives.


The human race has extended itself into the far reaches of our solar system -- and, in doing so, has developed into something remarkable and diverse and perhaps transcendent. The inner system of the Met -- with its worlds connected by a vast living network of cables -- is supported by the repression and enslavement of humanity's progeny, nanotechnological artificial intelligences -- beings whom the tyrant Amés has declared non-human. There is tolerance and sanctuary in the outer system beyond the Jovian frontier. Yet few of the oppressed ever make it post the dictator's well-patrolled boundaries.

But the longing for freedom cannot be denied, whatever the risk.A priest of the mystical religion called the Greentree Way senses catastrophe approaching. A vision foretells that the future of our bitterly divided solar system rests in the hands of a mysterious man of destiny and doom who has vanished into the backwater of the Met in search of his lost love. But the priest is not the only one who grasps this man's importance. The despot Am$eacute;s is after the some quarry -- and until now there has been no power in the inner solar system willing to oppose Amés and his fearsome minions.

But now a line has been drawn of Neptune's moon Triton. Roger Sherman, a retired military commander from Earth's West Point and a Greentree ally, will not let Amés prevail. Though dwarfed by the strength and wealth of the Met, the cosmos under Sherman's jurisdiction will remain free at all cost -- though defiance will ensure the unspeakable onslaught of the dictator Amés's wrath -- a rage that will soon ravage the solar system. A rage that will plunge all of humankind into the fury of total war.

With Metaplanetary, author Tony Daniel fulfills the great promise of his critically acclaimed earlier works. A new master has reached for the stars, with a stunning speculative masterwork of enormous scope and conceptual daring -- an adventure of grand victories and horrific villainy, both human and meta-human alike.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hugo Award nominee Daniel (Earthling and Warpath) projects a complex, mind-stretching future in his third SF novel, a cross between Bruce Sterling and Doc Smith that teems with vivid characters and surprising action. A thousand years from now, humans use omnipresent nano-matter, "grist," to engineer nonhuman forms for themselves and house their disembodied electronic consciousnesses. Tension has developed between two centers of power. On one side are the inner planets, knit together by massive cables and ruled by a monomaniacal dictator who is sure he knows what's best for everyone. On the other are the inhabitants of the outer planets and the massive spaceships/beings that are beginning to visit the stars. This latter group values diversity and freedom, but decentralization puts it at a disadvantage when the dictator plots to gain total control. As the preparations toward a system-wide civil war gather momentum, the vocabulary and relationships that at first seemed confusing suddenly become simply part of the onrushing action. The novel's only real drawback is that it breaks off early in the war, just as the two sides have squared off against each other. Keeping any moralizing tendencies nicely in check, Daniel seems to want to create an epic vision of humanity. If he can finish the story with the intelligence and energy he shows here, he may achieve that goal. Agent, John Ware Literary Agency. (Apr. 20) Forecast: With first serial rights sold to Asimov's Magazine, a plug from Greg Bear and credentials that include producer of the Seeing Ear Theater for scifi.com and host of a monthly radio show on New York's WBAI, Daniel should reach readers hungry for challenging, sophisticated science fiction. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In a far future, humanity has achieved a society in which biological and artificial intelligence exist in symbiosis. When war breaks out between the human colonies of the inner planets and the inhabited regions on the edge of the solar system, the future of the human race depends on a select group of individuals whose varied skills hold the key to preventing disaster. The author of Earthling launches a panoramic tale of men and women engaged in a war that spans both virtual and normal realities and that calls into question the nature of human intelligence and the price of freedom. A strong choice for most sf collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Chapter One

Midnight Standard at the Westway Diner

Standing over all creation a doubt-ridden priest took a piss.

He shook himself, looked between his feet at the stars, then tabbed his pants closed. He flushed the toilet and centrifugal force took care of the rest.

Father Andre Sud walked back to his table in the Westway Diner. He padded over the living fire of the plenum, the abyss -- all of it -- and hardly noticed. Even though this place was special to him, it was really just another café with a see-through floor -- a window as thin as paper and as hard as diamond. Dime a dozen as they used to say a thousand years ago. The luciferan sign at the entrance said FREE DELIVERY in Basis. The sign under it said OPEN 24 HRS. This sign was unlit. The place will close, eventually.

The priest sat down and stirred his black tea. He read the sign, backward, and wondered if the words he spoke when he spoke sounded anything like English used to. Hard to tell with the grist patch in his head.

Everybody understands one another on a general level these days, Andre Sud thought. Approximately more or less they know what you mean.

There was a dull, greasy gleam to the napkin holder. The saltshaker was half-full. The laminate surface of the table was worn through where the plates usually sat. The particle board underneath was soggy. There was free-floating grist that sparkled like mica within the wood: used-to-be-cleaning-grist, entirely shorn from the restaurant's controlling algorithm and nothing to do but shine. Like the enlightened pilgrim of the Greentree Way was supposed to do, Andre thought. Become shorn andbrilliant.

And what will you have with that hamburger?

Grist. Nada y grist. Grist y nada.

I am going through a depression, Andre reminded himself I am even considering leaving the priesthood.

Andre's convert portion spoke through Andre's pellicle -- the microscopic, algorithmic part of him that was spread through his body and spread out in the general vicinity. The convert spoke as if from a long way off.

[This happens every winter. And lately with the insomnia. Cut it out with the nada y nada. Everything's physical, don't you know.]

[Except for you,] Andre thought back.

He usually imagined the convert that inhabited his pellicle as a little cloud of algebra symbols that followed him around like mosquitoes. In truth it was normally invisible, of course. For most people, the tripartite division of the human personality into aspect, convert, and pellicle was a completely unconscious affair. People did not "talk" to their convert portion as Andre was able to do any more than the conceptual part of a single brain would talk to the logical part on a conscious level. But Andre had trained himself to notice the partitions in his mentality. It was one of the things a Greentree shaman learned in seminary: the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were inside as well as "up there." The biology begat the mentality, and the two communicated by means of the grist pellicle, the technological equivalent of "the Holy Ghost." This division of personhood was always expressed both psychologically, technologically, and spiritually. To understand oneself, one must understand the multiplicity, as well as the unity, of his personality.

[At least that's what they taught us in Human Spirituality and Consciousness,] said Andre's convert. [If you can believe what you hear from a bunch of priests.]

[Very funny,] he answered. [Play a song or something, would you?]

After a moment, an oboe piped up in his inner ear. It was an old Greentree hymn -- Ben Johnston's "Ponder Nothing" -- that his mother had hummed when he was a kid. Brought up in the faith. The convert filtered it through a couple of variations and inversions, but it was always soothing to hear the ancient tune.

There was a way to calculate how many winters the Mars-Earth Diaphany would get in an Earth year, but Andre never checked before he returned to the seminary on his annual retreat, and they always took him by surprise, the winters did. You wake up one day and the light has grown dim.

The café door slid open and Cardinal Filmbuff filled the doorway. He was wide and possessive of the doorframe. He was a big man with a mane of silver hair. He was also space-adapted and white as bone in the face. He wore all black, with a lapel pin in the shape of a tree. It was green of course.

"Father Andre," said Filmbuff from across the room. His voice sounded like a Met cop's radio. "May I join you?"

Andre motioned to the seat across from him in the booth. Filmbuff walked over with big steps and sat down hard.

"Isn't it late for you to be out, Morton?" Andre said. He took a sip of his tea. He'd left the bag in too long, and it tasted twiggy.

"Tried to call you at the seminary retreat center," Filmbuff said.

"I'm usually here," Andre replied. "When I'm not there."

"Is this place still the seminary student hangout?"

"It is. Like a dog returneth to its own vomit, huh? Or somebody's vomit."

A waiter drifted toward them. "Need menus?" he said. "I have to bring them because the tables don't work."

"I might want a little something," Filmbuff replied. "Maybe a Ihasi."

The waiter nodded and went away.

"They still have real people here?" said Filmbuff.

"I don't think they can afford to recoat the place."

Filmbuff gazed around. He was like a beacon. "Seems clean enough."

"I suppose it is," said Andre. "I think the basic coating still works and that just the complicated grist has broken down."

"You like it here."

Andre realized he'd been staring at the swirls in his tea and not making eye contact with his boss. He sat back, smiled at Filmbuff. "Since I came to seminary, Westway Diner has always been my home away from home." He took a sip of tea. "This is where I got satori, you know."

"So I've heard. It's rather legendary. You were eating a plate of mashed potatoes."

"Sweet potatoes, actually. It was a vegetable plate. They give you three choices, and I chose sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes, and sweet potatoes."

"I never cared for them."

"Dislike of sweet potatoes is merely an illusion, as you know, Morton. Everyone likes them sooner or later."

Filmbuff guffawed. His great head turned up toward the ceiling, and his eyes, presently copper-colored, flashed in the brown light. "Andre, we need you back teaching. Or in research."

"I lack faith." Metaplanetary. Copyright © by Tony Daniel. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Tony Daniel is the author of the novels Earthling and Warpath, along with the pioneering and well-received Metaplanetary, to which Superluminal is a sequel. Daniel heads up the New York City theater troupe Automatic Vaudeville, which produces independent films. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and daughter.

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Metaplanetary : A Novel of Interplanetary Civil War 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little heavy on some technobabble but fun an interesting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago