Annal: 2004 John W. Campbell Award

Results of the John W. Campbell Award in the year 2004.



Jack McDevitt

For a quarter of a century, mankind has known about the existence of the malignant omega clouds. Huge waves of deadly energy, they seem bent on destroying any civilization they come across. Now, Earth itself is in the line of fire—though not imminently. An omega is headed toward the planet, but it will not enter the solar system for nine hundred years.

Though research continues into the origin of the omegas and various theoretical scenarios for destroying them are suggested, there is no sense of urgency—until a Space Academy ship on a routine mission sends word back to Earth that the cloud has diverted to a previously unexplored planetary system. It is now aimed at a living pre-technological alien society, only the third such ever discovered—and it will reach the planet in a matter of months. Suddenly, the need to turn theory into practice becomes vital, as a handful of brave humans, scientists and military alike, undertake the task of saving an entire world without revealing their existence.

Book:Natural History (Justina Robson)

Natural History

Justina Robson

In the far future, humanity has engineered itself into new forms capable of spaceflight, the terraforming of planets, and the exploration of the deepest oceans. Evolution has reached a new zenith, and it seems there is no environment we cannot conquer. But when interstellar voyager meets a piece of alien technology in a head-on collision, the results go to show that the synthesis of the human race and its own technology is not the first or the most advanced of its kind in the galaxy.

Book:The X-President

The X-President

Philip Baruth

A masterful blend of political satire and edgy social commentary, here is a wildly entertaining trip through recent American history and into the impending future. An incisive look at how we love and hate our political leaders, and how they love and hate us back, The X President touches the very heart of what it means to be president—and what a president means to America.

It is the year 2055 and America is entangled in a devastating world war—and losing badly. As the threat of homeland invasion grows stronger, the United States is desperate to change the tide, anyway it can.

Enter Sal Hayden, official biographer of a former president known as BC, now 109 years old and all but forgotten. Charismatic, controversial, and always willing to feel another person’s pain, BC’s political career, like his personal life, is marked…[more]

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