Results of the John W. Campbell Award in the year 2006. Note that Farthing and Blindsight tied for third place.
2095. After long months of travel, the gigantic colony ship Goddard has at last made orbit around Saturn, carrying a population of more than of 10,000 dissidents, rebels, extremists, and visionaries seeking a new life. Among Goddard’s missions is the study of Titan, which offers the tantalizing possibility that life may exist amid its windswept islands and chill black seas.
When the exploration vessel Titan Alpha mysteriously fails after reaching the moon’s surface, long buried tensions surface among the colonists. Eduoard Urbain, the mission’s chief scientist, is wracked with anxiety and despair as he sees his life’s work unravel. Malcolm Eberly, Goddard’s chief administrator, takes ruthless measures to hold onto power as a rash of suspicious incidents threaten to undermine his authority. Holly Lane, the colony’s human-resources director, must confront…[more]
Jennet Stearne’s father hangs witches for a living in Restoration England. But when she witnesses the unjust and horrifying execution of her beloved aunt Isobel, the precocious child decides to make it her life’s mission to bring down the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act. Armed with little save the power of reason, and determined to see justice prevail, Jennet hurls herself into a series of picaresque adventures—traveling from King William’s Britain to the fledgling American Colonies to an uncharted island in the Caribbean, braving West Indies pirates, Algonquin Indian captors, the machinations of the Salem Witch Court, and the sensuous love of a young Ben Franklin. For Jennet cannot and must not rest until she has put the last witchfinder out of business.
Two months since the stars fell…
Two months since sixty-five thousand alien objects clenched around the Earth like a luminous fist, screaming to the heavens as the atmosphere burned them to ash. Two months since that moment of brief, bright surveillance by agents unknown.
Two months of silence, while a world holds its breath.
Now some half-derelict space probe, sparking fitfully past Neptune’s orbit, hears a whisper from the edge of the solar system: a faint signal sweeping the cosmos like a lighthouse beam. Whatever’s out there isn’t talking to us. It’s talking to some distant star, perhaps. Or perhaps to something closer, something en route.
So who do you send to force introductions on an intelligence with motives unknown, maybe unknowable? Who do you send to…[more]
One summer weekend in 1949—but not our 1949—the “Farthing set,” the well-connected group that overthrew Churchill and negotiated peace with Hitler, enjoys a country retreat. Lucy is a minor daughter of two politicians in the group; since her marriage to a London Jew, relations have been strained. So she’s surprised when she and husband David are invited for the weekend. When a member of the set is found murdered, it becomes clear to Lucy and David that they were invited in order to pin the murder on David.
More than an alternate-history story, more than a drawing-room mystery, Farthing is a compelling story of encroaching darkness and the people who ultimately decide to resist it.