Friday, January 16, 2009

Four Hundred Billion Stars

Four Hundred Billion Stars, Paul McAuley's first novel, won the Philip K. Dick Award in 1988. It's currently out of print, but I found it at my favorite local used book store. Amazon lists some copies. It hits me like a breath of fresh air after the obscure, convuluted experience of Jeff Noon's Vurt.

from the back of the book:
A million years ago, a powerful alien species moved a dead planet into the narrow life-support zone of an old, cold class M0 star. Then it gave the world an atmosphere, settled its surface with a bizarre mixture of creatures - some long since vanished from Earth - erected marvelous hivelike cities, and disappeared.

But Hunanity's arrival had apparently set the planet's hidden machinery to working. The dead cities had begun to glow at night and even the animals were undergoing startling transformations.

So Dorthy Yoshida, astronomer and reluctant telepath, was summoned from self-imposed exile near distant Earth and set to search for the mind that moved the world.

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