Results of the Prometheus Award in the year 1996.
Moh Kohn is a security mercenary, his smart gun and killer reflexes for hire. Janis Taine is a scientist working on memory-enhancing drugs, fleeing the US/UN’s technology cops. Jordan Brown is a teenager in the Christian enclave of Beulah City, dealing in theologically-correct software for the world’s fundamentalists-and wants out.
In a balkanized twenty-first century, where the “peace process” is deadlier than war, the US/UN’s spy satellites have everyone in their sights. But the Watchmaker has other plans, and the lives of Moh, Janis, and Jordan are part of the program. A specter is haunting the fight for space and freedom, the specter of the betrayed revolution that happened before…
Their Mission: The liberation of the entire galaxy—whether it wants it or not.
Assigned to overtake a planet that resists the Universal Will of the Stellar Collective, the deathbird kamikaze fighters of the Collective Landing Detachment begins what may be the most terrible battle in the history of the galaxy.
When a strange starship appears mysteriously on a distant alien world, bearing only a single human and his bee-like extraterrestrial companion, the powerful warlord of that world laughs at the stranger’s preposterous demand: End an all-out war with an interstellar rival, or face devastating consequences. But James Lawson, emissary from an intergalactic federation of advanced race, means every word he says, and has the power to back them up—whatever the cost.
Decades into our future, a stone’s throw from the ancient city of Shanghai, a brilliant nanotechnologist named John Percival Hackworth has just broken the rigorous moral code of his tribe, the powerful neoVictorians. He’s made an illicit copy of a state-of-the-art interactive device called A Young Ladys Illustrated Primer Commissioned by an eccentric duke for his grandchild, stolen for Hackworth’s own daughter, the Primer’s purpose is to educate and raise a girl capable of thinking for herself. It performs its function superbly. Unfortunately for Hackworth, his smuggled copy has fallen into the wrong hands.
Young Nell and her brother Harv are thetes—members of the poor, tribeless class. Neglected by their mother, Harv looks after Nell. When he and his gang waylay a certain neo-Victorian—John Percival Hackworth—in the seamy streets of their neighborhood, Harv brings Nell something special: the Primer. …[more]
Two planets, Werel, a slave-owning oligarchy, and Yeowe, its colony, are destined for revolution after contact with the sophisticated space-going civilization of the Ekumen. But one form of oppression and slavery can all too easily give way to another; and so a new, implacable fight for equality is born.
In these four linked novellas, freedom—for women, for slaves, for human beings—takes many forms. It can be learning or love, compassion or courage, created with a touch or killed with a blow.