Singularity is a swift, gripping novel with a goose-pimple mix of scary science and near-future action. An excellent debut from Bill DeSmedt - and I'll be looking forward to his next one!"
- GREG BEAR, New York Times bestselling author
"One of the best debuts of the year!"
- Barnes & Noble's Explorations
"DeSmedt veers an action-packed thriller into perilous realms of black hole physics. The combination of adrenaline and intellect sizzles."
- DAVID BRIN, New York Times bestselling author
"Singularity juggles Clancy, Crichton and The Da Vinci Code. An innovative concept for an end-of-the-world thriller, with convincing research and locomotive pacing."
- KEVIN J. ANDERSON, New York Times bestselling author
June 30th, 1908 - In the remote Tunguska region of Siberia, the most violent cosmic collision in recorded history flattened ancient forests over an area half the size of Rhode Island. Yet after a hundred years of international scientific research the cause of this impact remains a mystery.
A MAVERICK ASTROPHYSICIST
Jack Adler thinks he's fingered the culprit: a submicroscopic black hole, smaller than an atom, heavier than a mountain, older than the stars. What's more, that fantastic object is still down there, deep inside the Earth, burrowing through the mantle in an ever-decaying orbit that will end only when it has devoured the entire planet.
A ROOKIE SECRET AGENT
Marianna Bonaventure is tracking three missing scientists suspected of involvement in weapons of mass destruction research. The trail leads to Rusalka, the luxurious floating corporate headquarters of billionaire Russian industrialist Arkady Grishin. Determined to prove herself, Marianna creates an elaborate ruse in order to infiltrate the megayacht - a dangerous gambit that requires the coerced cooperation of a rather special civilian ...
AN UNCANNY CONSULTANT
Jonathan Knox is one of the country's most sought-after analysts; his knack for intuiting hidden relationships among seemingly disparate events serves his Fortune-50 clients well. But when Marianna compels the reluctant Knox to join her undercover mission, he must grapple with puzzles of a whole different order of magnitude.
Against violent and cunning opposition, the three of them unearth a scheme to capture the submicroscopic black hole that caused the Tunguska Event and use its awesome power to transform the world - or end it altogether.
Bill DeSmedt's debut is a tour-de-force of breakneck plotting, complex characters, and cutting-edge science. In the tradition of Michael Crichton and Greg Bear, Singularity weaves a richly detailed and intelligent tale, meticulously researched and elegantly told.
|Publisher:||Per Aspera Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.92(d)|
About the Author
What People are Saying About This
"Bill [DeSmedt] got the vast majority of the physics right, which is highly unusual - especially in a book that is such a good read."
national bestselling author of Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy
Singularity is a swift, gripping novel with a goose-pimple mix of scary science and near-future action. An excellent debut from Bill DeSmedt - and I'll be looking forward to his next one!
New York Times bestselling author; Hugo & Nebula award winner
"Singularity is a three-bag homer of a book - a mind-bending technothriller set on the edge of tomorrow, an East-West political thriller chilling enough to refreeze the Cold War, and an old fashioned pageturner, of the sort you can't decide whether to zip through, for the excitement, or to read slowly, to savor."
Edgar- and Silver Dagger Award nominee
DeSmedt veers an action-packed thriller into perilous realms of black hole physics. The combination of adrenaline and intellect sizzles.
New York Times bestselling author; Hugo & Nebula award winner
Singularity juggles Clancy, Crichton, and The Da Vinci Code. An innovative concept for an end-of-the-world thriller, with convincing research and locomotive pacing.
New York Times bestselling author
Explorations Interview with Bill DeSmedt
Paul Goat Allen: Bill, what was the motivation behind writing a novel like Singularity?
Bill DeSmedt: It's all Carl Sagan's fault! Several summers back, I was sitting around on a rainy Saturday afternoon watching a rerun of Cosmos, Episode IV, "Heaven and Hell." That's the one where Carl talks about meteor and cometary impacts. So, midway through, Carl gets around to the Tunguska Event -- a still-unexplained impact that wiped out an area half the size of the state of Rhode Island. And from there, he goes on to the Jackson-Ryan hypothesis: that the Event was a collision between Earth and an atom-sized black hole. And then he's refuting J&R, citing the standard missing exit-event objection -- namely, that the mini black hole should have cut through the solid body of the earth like a knife through morning mist and come exploding up out of the North Atlantic an hour later, wreaking all manner of havoc. Never happened. And, next thing you know Carl's gone on to Meteor Crater in Arizona or some such, leaving me sitting there, staring off into space.
"But, Carl," I said, "What if the damn thing never came out?" Little did I know it at the moment, but I'd just been hooked. I wanted to see where things went from there. In my effort to find out, I tried giving the idea away to the few published authors I could reach, hoping one of them would write the book so I could read it. No takers. "Great concept," they'd say, "but I wouldn't know where to start with the science." Finally it dawned on me that the only way I was ever going to find out how that book came out in the end was if I wrote it myself. So, with more than a little trepidation, that's what I did.
PGA: So has a consensus been reached about what really caused the Tunguska Event?
BD: If you're asking whether some theories are more popular than others, I'd have to say, yes -- that, over the past few decades, a consensus has grown up around the proposition that Tunguska was either an asteroid strike or a cometary impact. But, fashionable as they may be, those two hypotheses can't both be right. And science isn't supposed to be a popularity contest anyway. (Good thing, too, or we might still be saddled with Ptolemaic astronomy and the phlogiston theory of combustion and élan vital and the luminiferous aether -- all of which were pretty popular ideas in their day.) So, maybe a better way to ask it is: Is there a preponderance of evidence in favor of any one theory? And there I'd have to answer: Not that I've seen so far. The problem with the leading contenders is that the asteroid advocates have leveled some pretty damning arguments against the cometary hypothesis, and the comet theorists have given back as good as they got.
But, to make that long story short, neither the cometary nor the asteroidal explanation seems able to account for all the observed Tunguska phenomena. In fact, the best thing they've got going for them is that no viable third alternative has emerged -- yet.
PGA: After reading your novel, I was struck by how much Singularity reminded me of hard science fiction stories by authors that I loved to read while growing up -- Robert A. Heinlein, Larry Niven, Frederik Pohl, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, et al. Do any science fiction authors -- or science fiction novels -- stand out in your mind as inspirational?
BD: First of all, let me say I'm profoundly honored -- and humbled -- to be mentioned in the same breath with the giants of the field. Most of the writers you name were my favorites when I was growing up, too. In terms of influences and inspirations, I'd even add a few more: Poul Anderson, Greg Bear, James Blish, Michael Crichton, Vernor Vinge, and Roger Zelazny. Oh, and Ray Bradbury's "Night Meeting" from his Martian Chronicles, which I chanced to read in Russian translation before I ever encountered the original English but which spoke to me across that linguistic divide, just as its characters speak across gulfs of time and space. If Damon Knight is right about the core of the science fiction experience being a "sense of wonder," then that little story has remained my touchstone for the feeling all down the years.
PGA: At the conclusion of Singularity, there was mention of a sequel in the works, entitled Dualism. Can you give readers a hint about what transpires in the next novel?
BD: Well, it's early to be disclosing plot details, but thematically Dualism will (as the title implies) explore Descartes's mind/body dichotomy filtered through the prism of near-future developments in artificial intelligence and quantum computation. It'll feature Jonathan Knox and Marianna Bonaventure, too -- turns out I'm not through with them yet, nor they with me. And (as the title also implies) Dualism will be exploring the next move in the dialectic of their relationship as well.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I read this about 4 years ago or so and just thought I would check to see what kind of reviews were now out there. It really is an excellent book with good characters and interesting science. If you like hard science fiction this is a fantastic choice to read! Highly recommended. If you look at what I also recommend, I guarantee this book is right up there with the others.
As a fan of Michael Crichton who awaits his releases, this book manages to shine. Hard science blended with an action based plot is sure to please. I also recommend Human Interface by another debut author, Jason Giacchino available here at Barnes & Nobel. These two authors are really providing alternatives for those of us who endure the space between Crichton masterpieces.
A first glance at the cover tab will leave the well read scifi buff thinking of David Brin's Earth or Gregory Benford's Artifact, but let me assure you that Mr. DeSmedt has much more in mind for the piece of the primordial explosion that hides within the earth. His cast of characters have grand plans for the remenant of the Tunguska explosion. Add to this well developed likeable characters, cutting edge and black project level technology and an explosive finish and you have a glimpse of what this book encompasses. Truly a wonderful debut.
Somewhere along the line, somebody took the Science out of Science Fiction. Bill DeSmedt¿s debut novel puts it back. In the hands of a lesser writer, this book could have easily bogged down under the weight of its own technical detail. Fortunately, Bill DeSmedt is not a lesser writer. The plot ricochets from hard science, to espionage, to shamanism, and back again, weaving divergent story lines into the literary equivalent of a black hole. Before you know it, you¿ve skidded past the event horizon, and there¿s no turning back. You¿re in for a white-knuckle ride, and all you can do is hang on for dear life.
This book deals with a lot of good science and people you would like to meet. It deals with money, power and the situations which change on the spur of the moment. It deals with large corporations and what they will attempt to do for the principles which the founders established it. It has conspiracy theroies, cloak and dagger, and dareing do agents making it up as you go along. I like the fact of the science being well thought out and investigated and displayed with enough plot and twist to keep you involved throughout the story. It gets a bit long developing the storyline and plot but it does not get boring. It also investigates other science facts that help keep the story going. At the end it reaches a pace that will not let you put it down easily.
A new contender for supreme master of the science-thriller has emerged in Bill DeSmedt. 'Singularity' brings together elements of suspense, faithful science, mysticism, and a spine chilling connection to a real world scientific mystery that makes for a remarkable debut book. 'Singularity' takes you from the still-baffling mystery of the Tunguska event, a massive explosion in desolate Siberia in 1908, to the near present. Its characters vary from Evenki tribesman (the only direct observers of the event) to modern day physicists and, of course, to spies (both by training and indenture). If you enjoy Crichton, Bear, Brin, or Benford, and other authors who write science fiction that does not play fast and loose with the laws of physics. You will really enjoy Singularity. I anxiously await DeSmedt's next book.
Some of the crime scenes don't fit too well in the main narrative; they feel unnecessary. The main story is well told. Some of the borderline speculation is rather borderline, but thoroughly interesting, nonetheless.
Fast paced action and suspense