Set in 2255 in our own solar system. A small black hole is found at the edge of our solar system. Its Hawking radiation seems to contain information, and responding to it gets a response in return in which the black hole becomes a featureless planetoid. Different factions, earth, moon, and conservationists race to be the first to leverage any potential it may provide.

We spent this week in Switzerland, staying with friends. Tuesday the three of us went to Zürich, just strolling and exploring the city. Thoroughly enjoyed a pop-up art gallery with some graduation projects of the local art academy, at the Spiegelgasse square of Dada fame. Also spent quite some time exploring the Swiss literature section and their German language SF section in the Orell Füssli bookstore on Füsslistrasse, Switzerland’s largest bookstore so they claim. As a teenager in school I read quite a bit of Swiss author Max Frisch (1911-1991), whose 1957 Homo Faber made a deep impression on me. Later when E and I were in the alps of Wallis in 2005 we stumbled across a rich vein of original German SF in a book store in the old Brig post office (part of the Orell Füssli chain it turns out).

I ended up buying books from four Swiss authors and one German author:

I jotted this title down to buy November 2022, came across it in a book store in October 2023, looked it up online and noticed it was a dollar at Amazon. Was curious to see what Baxter is attempting here. He’s written fascinating stuff and stuff that didn’t work for me, and he seems to have phases in topics of interest. This time it’s an interesting mix of two main story lines, and zooming out to enormous timelines. The notion of having some people move far forward in time as feedback loops to maintain humanity is interesting. Plays around with the notion of emergent mind at 10 trillion or so connected nodes, whatever type of node it is. Interesting political splits too, as well as a take on conservatism as a mistake. And now I wonder if a sun can have mind.

Part 6 of 6. Lee returns to earth and lays low for two decades. Cult villages emerge without being clear who is behind it. Panopticon drones are falling down over the North Sea and Jersey. Flat charactered and at times with naive exposés by the protagonist Lee, all in all this was a series with some interesting exploration of VR/AR, and the various evolving consequences it might have.

Part 5 of 6. Protagonists Lee and Nemo work from Mars with no legal way to return to earth. They also don’t quite fit in. The discovered life extension elixir means that the stranded pilots may return to active status despite already having too much cosmic radiation absorbed. Someone starts a rebellion against Lee and Nemo, yet can’t be IDd. An always on vr conscience is introduced but is a paranoid bully.