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Seeds of Memory
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-313-1
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Science Fiction/Fiction/Adventure
eBook Length: 419 Pages
Published: January 2006



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Total Readers: 2

From inside the flap

SPACE...once believed to be a vast and vacant void, has been found, in fact, to be filled with all sorts of things?things that roam freely and at random.  Our little spaceship Earth is no longer as secure as we once thought it to be.  There are clouds of dust and gas so hot that their mere passing would scour our little system of planets with a breath of death and destruction complete.  Clouds so massive that just their passing could throw all our little planets from of their peaceful orbits into the deep cold of a sunless darkness and fling our star out and on its way to being one of the eternal roamers of our galaxy, or even throw it into an intergalactic journey to who-knows-where?  Black holes; blazars; blasts of deadly radiation from nearby super-novae; stars; burned out hulks of stars; super-dense neutron stars; rocks (small or incredibly large), and a host of other things?none of them welcome visitors.
 
IN THIS INCREDIBLE, SWEEPING SAGA across thousands of years and hundreds of light years we come face to face with our fears and deep prejudices. It is here, in SEEDS OF MEMORY, that we get an idea of what it means to be "HUMAN" and what "HUMAN" really means. It is here, in SEEDS OF MEMORY, that we are confronted with the need to know colliding head-on with reality. Are we, HOMO SAPIENS SAPIENS, truly the only form that humans can take, and is our history the only history? Might there not be others, or others created out of the very stuff of life who are, after all, our brothers and sisters?kith and kin?
 
In this story we find that the lines that divide have indistinct, fuzzy edges, and that we are the ones who make those divisions. Here we discover humanity at its magnificent best, its seething worst, and everything imaginable between, while we make an uncertain attempt to reunite two peoples separated by time and space...and other things...
 
One of those unwelcome visitors has arrived and we are pitifully unprepared.  This is a speculative look into a far-flung future disaster that could actually happen (and well might, someday) and how the human species reacts to it. It could even be said that it is a look at a future history?a history we might not be able to survive.


Reviews and Awards

  Incredible! Had me hooked in the first few pages. A great book from the author of XENOGENSIS!

Seeds of Memory (Excerpt)


PROLOGUE

On the afternoon of 15 October 2219, the pressroom of the International Space Administration in Detroit was packed beyond capacity with journalists and science writers. The great hall hummed with conversations cut short in the past and old disagreements resumed, with loudly expressed friendships and animosities renewed. Dr. Andrew Longbow, spokesperson for the Institute of Planetary Sciences in London, stepped up to the lectern and silence traveled in a slow wave to the back of the hall.

"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. You all know who I am, and I know who most of you are, so we may dispense with preliminaries. We are going to run this session in reverse order today, because there are a lot of rumors and misleading speculations circulating in the media, the result of which will be catastrophic if we do not put an end to them...today. So, I will entertain questions first, then we will have a brief statement issued by Dr. Charlene Clark, Director of the International Space Agency. First up...Ms. Carlisle."

"Dr. Longbow, do we know what this...thing is? Is it true that it may be a piece of a fractured neutron star?"

"No, Ms. Carlisle, we do not have any hard information on the makeup of the object. Its density remains unknown at this time, though its mass is reasonably well established. But, yes, it is possible that it is a fragment from a collision of two or more dense objects. However, it is very difficult to imagine something as dense as a neutron star being fractured by any known mechanism other than being ripped apart in an encounter with a black hole, in which case it could not be expected that any of its fragments would escape the episode. We have launched a probe from Uranus One. That occurred at 0100 hours UST yesterday, and we should have useful information by late tomorrow. Yes...Mr. Benson."

"Dr. Longbow, we have received reports that the object is more massive than the sun and, if so, what danger does it pose to the system as a whole...Earth, Mars, and the sun in particular?"

"Mr. Benson, I suspect I know the origin of those reports, but we have determined, based on perturbations observed in the outer planets, that the object is approximately zero point seven solar masses, that is, about seventy percent the mass of the sun. Whether it represents any major threat to the inner planets or the sun remains unknown. It is doubtful that the object poses any danger to the sun, but we need to gather more data before we can begin to model possible effects with a reliable degree of accuracy. What we can say is, AFO-8 will certainly have an effect on the orbit of Mercury, although we cannot yet predict what that effect will be. Venus and Mars will be relatively close to the event, but we doubt, owing to the speed of the object, that there will be any serious disturbance to the orbit of either of them during the pass. Earth will be in a place positioning it as far from the event as possible, minimally two hundred million kilometers, and should be perfectly safe. Let’s see now...Mrs. Leary, is it?"

"Yes, Dr. Longbow. You have a phenomenal memory, sir. Um, you called this object AFO-8. Can you tell us, specifically, what that means?"

"AFO is an acronym of the phrase Astronomically Free Object, although it would be more accurately described as Gravitationally Free. That is to say, an object not bound by the gravitational attraction of any other body, or system of bodies. The velocity of this object and its mass render it free from capture by anything but the most substantial of gravity wells. For example, if it were to pass close enough to a substantial black hole it could be trapped. Since there are many such bodies moving independently through our galaxy, indeed throughout the universe, the designation and numbering system has been restricted to those bodies penetrating a sphere with a radius of one parsec from Sol. This, then, is the eighth such object known to have passed through that sphere. Next? Ah, yes, Dr. Weiler."

"Hmm...according to Dr. Mathausen’s measurements, the perturbations of Saturn and Jupiter indicate that-"

"Dr. Mathausen arrives at conclusions rather abruptly, and his findings have historically proven to be erroneous, Weiler."

"I would appreciate it...Longbow...if you allowed me to complete my question. The perturbations clearly show this object to be of sufficient mass, more than the zero point seven solar masses you indicated, to make it capable of seriously disrupting our sun-in spite of its velocity. Dr. Mathausen has suggested that there will be a time lag, he refers to it as flywheel effect, before we will be able to assess the extent of internal disturbances in the sun. He has suggested the time interval could be in the order of several decades before we would know to what extent the sun has been disrupted. Is that true?"

"I remind you, Weiler, that those are the conclusions of a-"

"Is it true?"

"-of a madman. No. Of course it is not true."

"What data do you have to support your position, Longbow? What precedents?"

Two men in dark suits arrived to remove Weiler from the room. Weiler, a small man of advanced age, was easily subdued after a brief struggle. He was heard repeatedly shouting, "Is it true?" while he was being dragged out, until the closing of the heavy wooden doors silenced him.

"Please, ladies and gentlemen," Longbow pleaded. "Let us follow the protocol outlined for you before you came in this morning. One question and one response. If you are dissatisfied with the response given, follow up with a formal letter to the board. It will be answered in a timely fashion. Next question...Mrs. Brin...and how are the colonies these days?"

I remember thinking that he didn?t give a nanodamn about us and our little colonies. The only thing he cared about was orbiting Mars as part of the largest interferometry project in the history of astronomy. We, the people, meant nothing to him and his elite band of esoterrorists.

"Funny you should ask that, Dr. Longbow. The approach of AFO-8, which, I understand, carries the name of Vaunt-Courier, is said to have been responsible for new seismic activity that destroyed the Tharsis Town greenhouses and brought Olympus back to life. Phobos is now in a rapidly decaying orbit, and if it should survive its dip inside the Roche Limit, could produce a global disaster. The people in the colonies are concerned, and with good reason. Will there be similar disturbances felt on Earth...and what about the moon?"

"Mrs. Brin, Earth will be more than two hundred million kilometers away at closest approach. There will be some effect, to be sure, but nothing to cause alarm. As for the recent seismic activity on Mars, there is no reliable data linking AFO-8 to-"

"Like hell there isn?t. We have definite-"

"Please, Mrs. Brin, the protocol-"

"Screw the protocol. And why is no one aware of what has happened on Mars-a planet, by the way, that happens to be currently almost seven hundred fifty million kilometers from your object and..." Well, in self-defense, I was angry with the whole system, a system that ignored reality in favor of pet theories. You didn?t need to be any kind of locked-in-your-tower scientist to put all of the recent occurrences in order and come up with pending disaster. So I was being a little obstinate, I admit that, but, damn it, these were important issues that had not been addressed publicly by anyone in the ISA.

"Mrs. Brin, please. What has happened may be peripherally connected to the presence of AFO-8, but is certainly not a direct result. The orbit of Phobos was unstable to begin with. Your people were advised years ago to work up a program to stabilize it because any slight disturbance could cause a-"

"This is not just any slight disturbance, Dr. Longbow. It is your Vaunt-Courier."

"Mrs. Brin, I will have you ejected from-"

And I don?t doubt he would have done it, but at that moment a temblor measuring eight point nine ended the conference and flattened two-thirds of Detroit. Things have been accelerating rapidly downhill since. Phobos has begun to break up, and we have been hit by several large pieces already, setting back our terraforming efforts a hundred years or more. Dr. Longbow committed suicide last week, and Dr. Mathausen, of all people, has taken his place on the board. Vaunt-Courier is now plainly visible as a dark shadow blotting out the stars in the background. Heaven help us all.

Iliana G. Brin, Staff Investigative Reporter, The Martian Chronicle
1 December 2219