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Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Manifold: Space

Categories: [ Books ]

ISBN: 0345430786

© Amazon.fr

Second volume of the Manifold trilogy, Time has been published in 2001 by Stephen Baxter.

2020. Reid Malenfant, a former NASA astronaut discovers with the help of Nemoto, a Japanase astronomer living in a lunar colony, the presence of aliens in the asteroid belt. A probe sent there proves their presence, and Malenfant conjectures that they must have arrived into the solar system through a gateway, which is most probably located at the focal point of the Sun's gravity field. He launches a solo mission to this point, where he actually finds a gateway, goes through it, and meets the aliens called the Gaijin. They take him for a long journey across a large portion of the galaxy, using the network of gateways to show him many worlds, most of which have either a rudimentary form of life, or have been sterilized by an unknown cause. A gateway jump is no faster than lightspeep, and Malenfant therefore spends hundreds of years travelling. Meanwhile, on Earth, Nemoto charges Madeleine Meacher, a weapon smuggler, to be the next star traveller with the Gaijin. The Gaijin again take her to many worlds, without her really understanding what they want to show her. Most of the story decribes the evolution of the solar system, first the lunar colony finding oxygen and other vital elements by digging to the core of the moon, the Earth regressing and eating up most of its resources while the Gaijin fiddle with DNA to re-create extinct species. Some time later, the Earth suffers from a new ice age, while the moon colony is dying. Meacher takes australian aboriginals to colonize Triton. Malenfant comes back to Earth where he discovers that Nemoto is still alive and manipulating him again. Malenfant ends up on Io with a colony of Neanderthal before disappearing again. Finally, Meacher is contacted by Nemoto (now 1700 years old) to warn the inhabitants of the solar system that another alien specie called the Crackers are on their way to turn the Sun into a supernova, their way to get enough energy to expand and fly to the next star, where they will do the same and so on. Now the remnants of human descendants (and Nemoto) are on Mercury, the last human colony, and manage to defeat the Crackers before they distroy the Sun. Meacher leaves to Io and finally finds Malendant. They are both (along with Neanderthals) dematerialized and stored on a 10 cm long ship heading for the center of the galaxy. The Gaijin have discovered that binary star systems turning into neutron stars explode at more or less regular intervals, delivering a huge amount of gamma and cosmic rays, sterilizing all life in a radius of thousands of lightyears, preventing any life form to evolve enough to actually become able to colonize the galaxy. Before a previous sterilization took place, an unknown species had started to build a device that would prevent one specific binary star to sterilize this quadrant of the galaxy. A coalition of current species is working on the device, but internal dissensions prevent them to complete it. The Gaijin need human's sense of self and therefore of self sacrifice for a greater good in order to unite the coalition long enough to complete the task.

[ Posted on February 10th, 2008 at 21:39 | no comment | ]