Annal: 2003 Prometheus Award for Best Novel

Results of the Prometheus Award in the year 2003.

Book:Night Watch

Night Watch

Terry Pratchett

One moment, Sir Sam Vimes is in his old patrolman form, chasing a sweet-talking psychopath across the rooftops of Ankh-Morpork. The next, he’s lying naked in the street, having been sent back thirty years courtesy of a group of time-manipulating monks who won’t leave well enough alone.

This Discworld is a darker place that Vimes remembers too well, three decades before his title, fortune, beloved wife, and impending first child. Worse still, the murderer he’s pursuing has been transported back also. Worst of all, it’s the eve of a fabled street rebellion that needlessly destroyed more than a few good (and not so good) men.

Sam Vimes knows his duty, and by changing history he might just save some worthwhile necks—though it could cost him his own personal future. Plus there’s a chance to steer a novice watchman straight and teach him a valuable thing or three about policing, an impressionable young copper named Sam Vimes.

Book:Dark Light

Dark Light: Book 2 of The Engines of Light

Ken MacLeod

Intelligence, it turns out, is rare—on planetary surfaces. It thrives everywhere else, from the Oort-cloud fringes of star systems to the magma furnaces beneath planetary crusts. And among the most powerful of the galaxy’s intelligences, there are profound differences of opinion about how to deal with surface life-forms such as human beings.

For, untold light years from Earth, the powers that rule the universe have been, for millennia, plucking humans (and other intelligent beings) from Earth and forcibly resettling them in a number of star systems close to one another, leaving them to develop on their own. A few generations ago, a small cadre of humans from Earth’s 21st century arrived in this “Second Sphere” on their own power—the first humans ever to do so. Their descendants have formed the “Cosmonaut” class that dominates Mingulay. Now, two hundred years later, Gregor Cairns and a small group of associates have rediscovered faster-than-light travel and traveled to the star system next door. They’re determined to find more of the original, mysteriously long-lived cosmonauts. They want answers. And for those answers, they intend to interrogate the gods.

Book:Escape from Heaven

Escape from Heaven

J. Neil Schulman

This is Duj Pepperman and you’re on 680 K-TALK.”

“Duj, this is God, calling from Heaven. I can’t believe I got through. I’m one of your biggest fans!”

With this first-ever call-in from God, an L.A. radio talk-show host is sent on a mission from God that takes him to Heaven—then back to earth—on a rollercoaster adventure that includes meetings with the most famous celebrities in Heaven and on earth. Along the way he learns the origins of our universe, the meaning of life, and how the War between God and Satan will turn out. A comic journey that is bound to be compared to Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and Shaw’s Back to Methuselah.

Book:The Haunted Air

The Haunted Air

F. Paul Wilson

In Astoria, Queens, the lively ethnic neighborhood just across the river from Manhattan, a house is being haunted by the ghost of a nine-year-old girl in riding clothes. More than two decades before, she’d been abducted from stables in Brooklyn. Now it’s up to Jack to uncover the truth of her story and liberate the pretty, blond spirit. Perhaps the answer is in the odd little store called the Shurio Coppe? Ah, but that would be telling.

Jack does things no human being should be able to do, but we watch, in horrified fascination, as the forces of evil seem about to triumph and fill the world with eternal darkness. And then— but you must read the book.

Book:Schild's Ladder

Schild's Ladder

Greg Egan

The Age of Death ended countless millennia ago. No longer burdened by limited lifespans, the immortal humans who populate inhabited space now have the luxury to travel vast distances effortlessly and to tinker with the intricate mechanics of spacetime. But one such experiment in quantum physics has had a catastrophic and unanticipated result, creating an enormous, rapidly expanding vacuum—a region of new physics—with the frightening potential to devour countless inhabited solar systems.

Tchicaya abandoned his homeworld four thousand years ago to travel the universe, freely choosing, as have others of his bent, to endure the hardships of distance and loneliness for the sake of knowledge and experience. Aboard the Rindler, a starship trawling the border of the allconsuming novo-vacuum, he feels his endless life has new purpose. For the Rindler is the center for the scientific study the phenomenon—a common ground for Preservationists and Yielders alike, those working to halt…[more]

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