In this Notable Book of the Year, a strange new life form threatens all of humanity, and only a fool would stand in its way
Katmer Al Shei has done well with the starship , cutting corners where necessary to keep her crew paid and her journeys profitable. But there are two things she will never skimp on: her crew—and her fool. For a long space journey, a certified Fool’s Guild clown is essential, to amuse, excite, and otherwise distract the crew from the drudgeries of interstellar flight. Her newest fool, Evelyn Dobbs, is a talented jester. But does she have enough wit to save mankind?
In the computers of the , something is emerging. The highly sophisticated software that makes interstellar travel practical is playing host to a new form of artificial intelligence, one with its own mind, its own needs, and its own desperate fears. Combatting this terrifying new threat becomes the fool’s secret fight. Evelyn Dobbs’s personal war might just cost Katmer Al Shei everything, and everyone, she holds dear. But if they fail, humanity itself is lost for good.
Callie LeRoux has lived all her life in small town Kansas. She thinks she knows all there is to know about herself and her mother. But with the coming of the biggest dust storm in history, Callie finds out there is much more to her family, her history and the world outside Slow Run than she ever guessed. Secrets and magics plunge Callie into danger with only her own nerve and the hobo boy Jack Holland to help, and Jack has his own secrets that might destroy them both…
Winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel: With mankind spread thinly across the galaxy, two refugees must find humanity’s home.
Eric Born knows his way around the universe. He’s a quick-thinking merchant blessed with natural telekinetic skill. He’s also that rarest of creatures, a human being. Humans have been scattered across the universe, powerless and oppressed, dispersed so widely that no one knows what planet they first came from. Eric survives by selling his talents to the mysterious galactic tyrants known as the Rhudolant Vitae, but has never forgotten he belongs to the human race, and the distant world, the Realm of the Nameless Powers. The Realm may be a backwater, but Eric will do anything to protect his home from the merciless and powerful Vitae.
With the help of fellow refugee Arla Rengate, Eric embarks on a journey across the stars. To save the Realm, he will have to cross the Vitae, and discover a secret that holds the key to the origins of mankind.