Results of the John W. Campbell Award in the year 1999.
It is the twenty-first century. Convicts are sentenced to asteroids that move in ever-widening solar orbits, timed to return when their terms run out. But a few ambitious administrators discover that small “errors” in velocity can rid them of selected groups altogether: the hardcore violent, the mentally defective, and especially the political dissidents. Enduring the black vise of interstellar space-time, these human rejects—men and women mixed together—create their own Darwinian societies, struggling to survive.
Back on Earth, a handful of sympathetic and curious scientists have not forgotten these lost citizens. When a technological breakthrough makes it possible to overtake these scattered asteroids, a courageous team sets out to go where none has willingly gone before. What they discover in these “brute orbits” is both provocative and moving—a startling vision of humanity you will never forget.
Starfarers is the story of an expedition into the far reaches of the galaxy, where answers to mankind’s greatest questions await.
The saga begins when evidence of an advanced civilization is discovered by SETI astronomers. “Trails” observed in the sky are thought to be from starships traveling at the speed of light, an enigma that spurs scientific minds until this breakthrough is achieved by mankind as well. An expedition is then mounted and an eclectic team of scientists chosen to journey into the sector where the intelligent life is allegedly located. But because the destination of the starship, Envoy, and her crew is 60,000 light-years away, the time required to reach the point of origin of the signals and return is 120,000 years—longer than Homo sapiens has been on Earth. And though the crew is ready to face the ramifications of such a trek, no one is prepared for…[more]
It’s November 2044, an election year, and the state of the Union is a farce. The federal government is broke, cities are privately owned, the military is shaking down citizens in the streets, and Wyoming is on fire. The last place anyone expects to find an answer is the nation’s capital.
Washington has become a circus and no one knows that better than Oscar Valparaiso. A master political spin doctor, Oscar has been in the background for years, doing his best to put the proper spin on anything that comes up. Now he wants to do something quite unusual in politics. He wants to make a difference. But Oscar has a skeleton in his closet: a grotesque and unspeakable scandal that haunts his personal life.
He has one unexpected ally: Dr. Greta Penninger. She is a gifted neurologist at the bleeding edge of the neural revolution.…[more]