Annal: 1999 Arthur C. Clarke Award

Results of the Arthur C. Clarke Award in the year 1999.

Book:Dreaming in Smoke

Dreaming in Smoke

Tricia Sullivan

Kalypso Deed is a shotgun, riding the interface between the AI Ganesh and human scientists who solve problems through cyberassisted Dreams. But she’s young and a little careless; she’d rather mix drinks and play jazz. Azamat Marcsson is a colorless statistician: middle-aged, boring, and obsessed with microorganisms. A first-class nonentity—until one of his Dreams implodes, taking Kalypso with it.

Now Ganesh is crashing, and nothing could be worse. For on the planet T’nane, it is the AI alone that keeps the colonists alive, eking out a grim existence in an environment inimical to human life. To save the colony, Kalypso must persuade Marcsson to finish the Dream that is destroying Ganesh. But Marcsson has gone mad, and T’nane itself has plans for them both that will alter their minds—and their world—forever.

Book:The Cassini Division

The Cassini Division

Ken MacLeod

Ellen May Ngewthu is a young woman with centuries of experience, a soldier and leader of the Cassini Division, the elite defense force of the utopian Solar Union. Here in the twenty-fourth century, the forts of the Division, in orbit around a mysteriously transformed Jupiter, are the front line in humanity’s long standoff with the unknowable posthumans—godlike and remote beings descended from the people who transformed themselves with high technology centuries ago.

The posthumans’ capacities are unknown…but we know they disintegrated Ganymede, we know they punched a wormhole into Jovian space, and we know that the very surface of the solar system’s largest planet has been altered by their incomprehensible artifacts. Worst of all, we know that they have been bombarding the solar system with powerful data viruses for generations.

Now Ellen has a plan to rid humanity of this threat once and for all. But she needs to recruit the right people to her…[more]

Book:Cavalcade

Cavalcade

Alison Sinclair

Alison Sinclair’s previous sf novels were the well-reviewed Legacies and Blueheart; this is her third. It opens in a bizarre setting of huge, cathedral-like caverns within an alien spacecraft—an environment designed for humans. This ship’s broadcasts to Earth invited potential hitch-hikers to indicate their wish by waiting at the sea’s edge on one particular night. No other promises are made, but more than 100,000 people accept the invitation…to find themselves suddenly aboard, with gaps in their memories. Alien biotechnology gobbles all their…

Book:Earth Made of Glass

Earth Made of Glass

John Barnes

Welcome to the Thousand Cultures—in which humanity’s hundreds of settled worlds are finally coming back together, via the recently invented technology of instantaneous travel. And in which Giraut and Margaret work as professional diplomats, helping to finesse the stresses and strains of so much abrupt new contact among wildly diverse cultures.

Now, however, their task is to bring in the terrifyingly hostile world of Briand, a planet of broiling acid oceans whose only habitable portions are Greenland-sized subcontinents that project out of the abyssal heat of the planetary surface into it stratosphere.

But Briand’s physical hostility is nothing compared to the venom its two human cultures bear toward one another. Into this terrible world come Giraut and Margaret to try to do the right thing by the Cultures, by the inhabitants of Braind, and by one another.

Book:The Extremes

The Extremes

Christopher Priest

Teresa Simons was widowed when her husband, an FBI agent, was killed in a small Texas town by a gunman on a shooting spree.

Born in England, Teresa returns to the country in hopes of coming to terms with her loss. In the small town of Bulverton on the south coast, she discovers a shocking coincidence: Bulverton also suffered the horror of a lone gunman on a killing spree.

Both episodes of mass murder occurred on the same June day.

With no explanation for this mysterious coincidence, Teresa is drawn to the virtual-reality world of Extreme Experience. She had trained previously with ExEx for her own work in government intelligence, but nothing has prepared her for the new technology…or for the corresponding effects it will have.

The Extremes is a mesmerizing and powerful novel about the human capacity for violence and the way society eagerly packages it as entertainment. It is a gripping read and it may well change the way you view the world.

Book:Time on My Hands

Time on My Hands

Peter Delacorte

While in Paris, Gabriel Prince, a somewhat jaded but charming writer of high-end travel guides, is offered the chance of a lifetime—a trip through time. There’s only one hitch: the left-wing owner of the time machine, quantum physicist Jasper Hudnut, wants Gabriel to perform an errand. Gabriel must go back to pre-World War II Hollywood—a time when Howard Hawks was in his prime and Humphrey Bogart was still waiting for his break—and somehow derail a young contract actor named Ronald “Dutch” Reagan from his track to the Oval Office.

When signing on for the trip, Gabriel couldn’t have imagined the strange turns his life would take. He wouldn’t have guessed he’d fall in love with a starlet, or that after landing a job as a screenwriter at Warner Bros., he’d discreetly plunder the future for script ideas. And he certainly couldn’t have guessed he’d become friends with Dutch Reagan. …[more]

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