Science Fiction Ken MacLeod Divisions

ISBN 13: 9780765321190

Divisions

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9780765321190: Divisions

This volume comprises The Cassini Division and The Sky Road.

The Cassini Division: In the 24th century, post humans, god-like descendents of humans who transformed themselves with high technology, have warped the very fabric of the solar system for unknowable reasons. Ellen May Ngewthu has a plan to rid humanity of these beings, but she must first travel the entirety of the Solar Union, convincing others that post-humans are the threat she knows they are...

The Sky Road: Her rockets redundant, her people rebellious, and her borders defenseless against the Sino-Soviet Union, Myra Godwin appeals to the crumbling West for help as she faces the end of the space age. And, centuries in the future, as humanity again reaches into space, a young scholar could make the difference between success and failure. For his mysterious new lover has seduced him into the idea of extrapolating the ship's future from the dark archives of the past.

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

KEN MACLEOD's SF novels have won the Prometheus Award and the BSFA award, and been shortlisted for the Hugo and Nebula Awards. He lives near Edinburgh, Scotland.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Divisions
THE CASSINI DIVISION To Mairi Ann Cullen  
Thanks to Carol, Sharon and Michael; to John Jarrold and Mic Cheetham; to Iain Banks and Svein Olav Nyberg; to Andy McKillop, Jo Tapsell, Paul Barnett and Kate Farquhar-Thompson.  
Thanks also to Tim Holman for editorial work at Orbit; to David Angus for pointing me to the map of Callisto; and to the socialists, for the Earth.  
Man is a living personality, whose welfare and purpose is embodied within himself, who has between himself and the world nothing but his needs as a mediator, who owes no allegiance to any law whatever from the moment that it contravenes his needs. The moral duty of an individual never exceeds his interests. The only thing which exceeds those interests is the material power of the generality over the individuality. --JOSEPH DIETZGEN, "The Nature of Human Brain Work" 1 LOOKING BACKWARD There are, still, still photographs of the woman who gate-crashed the party on the observation deck of the Casa Azores, one evening in the early summer of 2303. They show her absurdly young--about twenty, less than a tenth of her real age--and tall; muscles built-up by induction isotonics and not dragged down by gravity; hair a black nebula; dark skin, epicanthic eyelids, a flattish nose, and thin lips whose grin is showing broad white teeth. She carries in her right hand a litre bottle of carbon-copy Lagrange 2046. Her left hand is at her shoulder, and on its crooked forefinger is slung a bolero jacket the colour of old gold, matching a gown whose almost circular skirt's hem is swinging about her ankles as she strides in. What looks like a small monkey is perched on her right, bare, shoulder.  
 
Something flashed. I blinked away annular afterimages, and glared at a young man clad in cobalt-blue pyjamas who lowered a boxy apparatus of lenses and reflectors with a brief apologetic smile as he ducked away into the crowd. Apart from him, my arrival had gone unnoticed. Although the deck was a good hundred metres square, it didn't have room for everybody who was invited, let alone everybody who'd turned up. The natural progress of the evening, with people hitting off and drifting away to more private surroundings, would ease the pressure, but not yet. There was room enough, however, for a variety of activities: close dancing, huddled eating, sprawled drinking, intense talking; and for a surprisingnumber of children to scamper among them all. Cunningly focused sound systems kept each cluster of revellers relatively content with, and compact in, their particular ambience. The local fashions seemed to fit the party, loose and fluid but close to the body: women in saris or shifts, men in pyjama-suits or serious-looking togas and tabards. The predominant colours were the basic sea-silk tones of blue, green, red, and white. My own outfit, though distinctive, didn't seem out of place. The centre of the deck was taken up by the ten-metre-wide pillar of the building's air shaft. Somewhere in one of the groups around it, talking above the faint white noise of the falling air, would be the couple whose presence was the occasion for the party--the people I'd come to speak to, if only for a moment. There was no point in pushing through the crowd--like anyone here who really wanted to, I'd reach them eventually by always making sure I was headed in their direction. I made my way to a drinks table, put down my bottle and picked up a glass of Mare Imbrium white. The first sip let me know that it was, aptly enough, very dry. My slight grimace met a knowing smile. It came from the man in blue, who'd somehow managed to appear in front of me. 'Aren't you used to it?' So he knew, or had guessed, whence I came. I made a show of inspecting him, over a second sip. He was, unlike me, genuinely young. Not bad-looking, in the Angloslav way, with dirty-blonde tousled hair and pink, shaved face; broad cheekbones, blue eyes. Almost as tall as me--taller, if I took my shoes off. His curious device hung on a strap around his neck. 'Comet vodka's more to my taste,' I said. I handed the glass into the monkey-thing's small black paws and stuck out my hand. 'Ellen May Ngwethu. Pleased to meet you, neighbour.' 'Stephan Vrij,' he said, shaking hands. 'Likewise.' He watched as the drink was returned. 'Smart monkey,' he said. 'That's right,' I replied, unhelpfully. Smart spacesuit, was the truth of it, but people down here tended to get edgy around that sort of stuff. 'Well,' he went on, 'I'm on the block committee, and tonight I'm supposed to welcome the uninvited and the unexpected.' 'Ah, thanks. And to flash bright lights at them?' 'It's a camera,' he said, hefting it. 'I made it myself.' It was the first time I'd seen a camera visible to the naked eye. My interest in this wasn't entirely feigned in order to divert any questions about myself, but after a few minutes of his explaining about celluloid film and focal lengths he seemed unsurprised that my glazed-over gaze was wandering. He smiled and said: 'Well, enjoy yourself, Ellen. I see some other new arrivals.' 'See you around.' I watched him thread his way back towards the doors. So my picture would turn up in the building's newspaper, and a hundred thousand people would see it. Fame. But not such as to worry about. This was the middle of the Atlantic, and the middle of nowhere. The Casa Azores was (is? unlikely--I'll stick to the past tense, though the pangs are sharp) on Graciosa, a small island in an archipelago in the North Atlantic, which is (probably, even now) an ocean on Earth. It was so far from anywhere that, even from its kilometre-high observation deck, you couldn't observe its neighbouring islands. The sea and sky views might be impressive, but right now all the huge windows showed was reflected light from within. The lift from which I'd made my entrance was at the edge, and I had to get to the central area within the next few hours, sometime after the crowd had thinned but before everyone was too exhausted to think. I drained the glass, picked up a bottle of good Sungrazer Stolichnya, gave the monkey a clutch of stemmed goblets to hold in its little fingers, and set out to work the party.  
 
'Nanotech's all right in itself,' a small and very intense artist was explaining. 'I mean, you can see atoms, right? Heck, with the bucky waldoes you can feel them, move them about and stick them together. It's mechanical linkages all the way up to your fingers. And to your screen, for that matter. But all that electronic quantum stuff is, like, spooky ...' She had other listeners. I moved on.  
 
'You're from space? Oh, great. I work with the people in the orbitals. We do zaps. Say you've got a replicator outbreak somewhere, natural or nano, like it makes a difference ... anyway, before the zap we all sorta wander around the evac zone, one, to check there's nobody there and, two, just to soak up and record anything that might get lost. You don't get much time, you're in an isolation suit that has to be flashed off you before you come out, for obvious reasons--takes most of your body hair with it, too--but even so, you can see and feel and hear a lot, and for hours or days, depending on how fast the outbreak's spreading, there's nobody else around for tens of kilometres. You know, just about every one I've done, I've picked up a species that wasn't in the bank. Genus, sometimes. Not known to science, as they say. Ran out of girlfriends to name them after, had to start on my actual relatives. And then you come out, and you sit around with the goggles and watch the zap. I mean, I like to see the flash, it's the next best thing to watching a nuke go off.' The ecologist stopped and took another deep hit on the hookah. I waved away his offer of a toke. He sighed. 'The times when there's nobody around but you ... You just gotta love that wilderness experience.' I had reached halfway across to the centre of the room. I wanted to offer the stoned scientist a shot of vodka, but the monkey had, in a moment of abstraction, devoured my last spare glass. The man didn't mind. He assured me he'd remember my name, and that some beetle or bug or bacterium would, one day, be named in my honour. I realised that I couldn't remember his name. Or perhaps he hadn't told me, or perhaps ... a certain amount of passive smoking was going on around here. I thanked him, and moved on. 'And don't do things like that,' I murmured. 'It's conspicuous.' A cold paw teased my ear, and a faint, buzzing voice said: 'We're low on silicates.' I scratched the little pseudo-beast in response, and hoped no one had noticed my lips move. I felt a sudden pang of hunger and a need for a head-clearing dose of coffee, and stopped at the nearest buffet table. A woman wearing a plain, stained white apron over a gorgeous green sari ladled me a hot plate of limpets in tomato sauce. (All real, if it matters. I guess it must: my mouth waters at the memory, even now.) I decided on a glass of white wine. There were empty chairs around, so I sat. The woman sat, too, at the other side of the table, and chatted with me as I ate. 'I've just spoken to our special guests,' she said. She had an unusual accent. 'Such interesting people. An artificial woman, and a man from the stars! And back from the dead, in a sense.' She looked at me sharply. 'Perhaps you'll have met them before, being from space yourself?' I smiled at her. 'How come everyone knows I'm from space?' 'Your dress, neighbour,' she said. 'Gold is a space thing, isn't it? It isn't one of our col...

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