Demons Five, Exorcists Nothing by William Peter Blatty
About The Affinities: In our rapidly-changing world of “social media”, everyday people are more and more able to sort themselves into social groups based on finer and finer criteria. In the near future of Robert Charles Wilson’s The Affinities, this process is supercharged by new analytic technologies–genetic, brain-mapping, behavioral. To join one of the twenty-two Affinities is to change one’s life. It’s like family, and more than family. Your fellow members aren’t just like you, and they aren’t just people who are likely to like you. They’re also the people with whom you can best cooperate in all areas of life–creative, interpersonal, even financial. At loose ends both professional and personal, young Adam Fisk takes the suite of tests to see if he qualifies for any of the Affinities, and finds that he’s a match for one of the largest, the one called Tau. It’s utopian—at first. Problems in all areas of his life begin to simply sort themselves out, as he becomes part of a global network of people dedicated to helping one another—to helping him. But as the differing Affinities put their new powers to the test, they begin to rapidly chip away at the power of governments, of global corporations, of all the institutions of the old world. Then, with dreadful inevitability, the different Affinities begin to go to war–with one another. What happens next will change Adam, and his world, forever.
(Ends March 23)
About Spin: Spin is Robert Charles Wilson’s Hugo Award-winning masterpiece—a stunning combination of a galactic “what if” and a small-scale, very human story. One night in October when he was ten years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his back yard and watched the stars go out. They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout. It would shape their lives.
The effect is worldwide. The sun is now a featureless disk—a heat source, rather than an astronomical object. The moon is gone, but tides remain. Not only have the world’s artificial satellites fallen out of orbit, their recovered remains are pitted and aged, as though they’d been in space far longer than their known lifespans. As Tyler, Jason, and Diane grow up, a space probe reveals a bizarre truth: The barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts. Time is passing faster outside the barrier than inside—more than a hundred million years per year on Earth. At this rate, the death throes of the sun are only about forty years in our future.
Jason, now a promising young scientist, devotes his life to working against this slow-moving apocalypse. Diane throws herself into hedonism, marrying a sinister cult leader who’s forged a new religion out of the fears of the masses.
Earth sends terraforming machines to Mars to let the onrush of time do its work, turning the planet green. Next they send humans…and immediately get back an emissary with thousands of years of stories to tell about the settling of Mars. Then Earth’s probes reveal that an identical barrier has appeared around Mars. Jason, desperate, seeds near space with self-replicating machines that will scatter copies of themselves outward from the sun—and report back on what they find. Life on Earth is about to get much, much stranger.
*sale ends April 3
Here’s the full review, from the September 16th issue:
Hugo-winner Wilson (The Chronoliths) casts a cold eye at SF clichés in this powerful novel designed to shake up lazy readers. In an alternate 2014, contented citizens are celebrating a century of “approximate peace” since the Armistice ended the war in Europe. Only members of the Correspondence Society realize that an alien entity encompassing the planet has been manipulating and pacifying humanity by controlling electronic communication and sending sims—artificial products of its hive mind—to kill anyone who discovers the truth. This is familiar stuff, and readers will expect to see heroic humans casting off the alien tyranny. Instead, Wilson focuses on the difficult moral choices his characters must face as they consider what has been done for (not just to) humankind, and as they discover sims among their closest companions. Heroism is set side by side with deep pain, and there are no easy answers. This is a deeply thoughtful, deliberately discomfiting book that will linger long and uneasily in the reader’s mind.
Burning Paradise will be published on November 5th.
Welcome to the week in review! Every Friday, we comb through the links and images we found and shared this week, and pull the very best for this post. Consider it concentrated genre goodness from all around the web.
And, just to make Friday that much sweeter, here’s a list of sweepstakes and sales we have going on!