World Engines by Stephen Baxter: Creator (World Engines #2)
English | 2020 | Sci – Fi | ePUB | 1.8 MB
Stephen Baxter is a trained engineer with degrees from Cambridge (mathematics) and Southampton Universities (doctorate in aeroengineering research). Baxter is the winner of the British Science Fiction Award and the Locus Award, as well as being a nominee for an Arthur C. Clarke Award, most recently for Manifold: Time. His novel Voyage won the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History Novel of the Year; he also won the John W. Campbell Award and the Philip K. Dick Award for his novel The Time Ships. He is currently working on his next novel, a collaboration with Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Mr. Baxter lives in Prestwood, England.
Trapped on an alternate Earth, the combined crews of a crashed Russian spaceship, a British expeditionary force and a group of strays from the future must work together to survive, escape, and discover what led them to this point. All are from parallel universes where small changes in history led to different realities, and the tensions between the groups are rising.
But some changes were not small. The solar system has been altered, changed, shaped in the various realities, and the World Engineers – unspeakably powerful, completely unknown – are still active. Why have they populated this planet with humanity’s ancestors and dinosaurs? What is on the moon of Saturn that gives off such an odd light? And even if they can be found, can they be stopped – and should they be?
Malenfant, Deidra and the rest of their party must find a way off the planet, back into space, and into the many dimensions seeking the answer…
‘The crash. We lost Niki . . . Nicola Mott. And Bob Nash. Yeah, I remember. I remember it all. I think.’ He pursed his lips. ‘And I remember going through it all with Irina. Irina Viktorenkova. Who I presume was here already, when we fell out of the sky. She fished us out. I talked about it all with her.’
‘That you did. I was there, too.’
‘Eavesdropping as usual.’
‘As to where everybody is – hate to tell you, Malenfant, the other survivors are all a little further along the road to recovery than you. Nobody badly injured in the crash, aside from our two fatalities. They are all younger than you.’
‘And fitter. I get it.’
‘I mean, centuries younger according to the calendar, thanks to the time you spent in a coldsleep pod on the Moon – but biologically so too.’
‘Yeah, yeah.’ He pushed Bartholomew’s arm away and swung his legs away from the bed. ‘Well, I need to see them even so.’
‘I bet that’s not the very first thing you need.’
As his body’s systems slowly reconnected to his brain, he had to agree. ‘So where’s the head in this M.A.S.H.?’
‘Not far away. A hole in the ground, essentially, but hygienic enough. Irina has been getting that stuff right as far as I can see. Here.’
From the ground beside the pallet Bartholomew produced a metre-long stick, evidently a cut-down branch, with a roughly shaped end. Again Malenfant had the impression of great strength crudely applied to make this thing.
Still, its function was obvious, and he recoiled. ‘You expect me to walk with a stick?’
‘Malenfant, you are a very old man. You have been through one hell of a gruelling experience. And, let me remind you, you are on Persephone. A different Persephone.’
‘Persephone II, we said we’d call it.’
‘Whatever. But just as in the comet-cloud version we visited before, this is a super Earth. Nearly one-third higher gravity, remember? So take the stick, and be damn grateful I don’t just carry you in my arms like an infant. Also you need a drink of water before—’
‘Ah, give me the damn stick.’