Results of the Gaylactic Spectrum Award in the year 1999.
Anne Harris returns with an outstanding look at the near future. Never before has her technological insight been so acute, or her portrayal of sex and gender issues more startling or insightful.
A bio-technology corporation has created a new species, intelligent, four-armed, humanoid “tetras” who can live in the vats in which “the company” grows biopolymers. Both the tetras and the human vat-divers they were created to replace are at the mercy of vicious corporate politics. But soon the victims become the aggressors, and something amazing, a transcendent change, occurs not only in their lives, but throughout the world. Anne Harris has created an extraordinary, breathtaking vision of the future.
It has been a century since a small group of humans was marooned on a distant planet. Now their descendants struggle with rising infertility, infant mortality, and mysterious birth defects for which no cause—or cure—can be found. Reproduction has become essential, and those who cannot produce children are scorned. Anais, a brilliant female doctor born with inexplicable physical abnormalities, falls victim to this severe treatment.
But then comes a startling revelation during an examination of a remarkably preserved corpse, a member of the planet’s long extinct native race. With horror, Anais discovers that the ancient creature has deformities nearly identical to her own. There must be some link between the planet’s past and the plight of the present-day humans, and Anais must find it before she is exiled forever—thwarting her society’s last chance for survival.It has been a century since a small group of humans was marooned…[more]
Tedla is young, beautiful and blond but is neither he nor she. On a far-off world, an asexual class of “blands” exists to serve their fellow humans, protected and isolated from contact with the rest of the universe. But no bland has ever left its sheltered homeworld—until now. Tedla has been found in an alley light-years away from its planet. And it has just tried to commit suicide. Val, an expert in alien cultures, helps Tedla recuperate and in doing so, uncovers the secret tortured world of the blands.
By the middle of the twenty-first century the worldwide fertility rate has declined nearly eighty percent. No one knows why. Now the average age in the United States is fifty-four, and children are treasured and spoilt by those lucky enough to have them and coveted by the vast majority who can’t.
Maximum Light is the story of three people from different sections of this very different American society. Nick Clementi is seventy-five years old, a doctor, and an advisor to the Congressional Advisory Committee for Medical Crises. Shana Walders is twenty-six and has just finished her two years in the National Service Corps. Cameron Atuli is twenty-eight, a principal dancer with the National Ballet, and has willingly had a portion of his memory removed; what it was and why he did it, he doesn’t know. In her last days of National Service, Shana witnesses something so horrible that it is immediately brought to the attention of Clementi’s committee, but so shocking that even the committee would like to believe that it can’t be true. And what Cameron can’t remember may be the key to the mystery.
In the kingdom of Branion, the hereditary royal line is blessed -or cursed- with the power of the Flame, a magic which can as easily destroy its human vessel as well as whatever foe it has been unleashed against. Two hundred years before the events of The Stone Prince, Branion is beseiged by a civil war, and only Simon, Court Painter and closest friend of the kingdom’s ruler, can find the courage to rescue a young child—the heir to the Flame—from becoming a victim in the family power struggle!