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by Sean McMullen

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-87736-6
Publisher: Tor

Librarians still rule the world in volume three of the Australian McMullen’s Greatwinter trilogy. In Souls in the Great Machines (1999), we met post-disaster, low-tech 40th-century Australica, with most human civilization destroyed by Greatwinter. Fuel-driven motors were forbidden, and all turned on the giant Calculor, ruled by top librarian Zarvora Cybeline. The Calculor was a kind of all-knowing flesh-machine abacus computer run by humans. Opposing the Calculor, machines on the Moon devised a Mirrorsun that reflected heat away from the planet. In The Miocene Arrow (2000), genius cetezoids raised a Call from the ocean deeps and enspelled all mammals larger than a cat into wandering either into the ocean or until they starve. Now, remaining humans are less intelligent than aviads, former humans who have had bird genes added to their DNA (because the Call works only within 50 feet) and are now lighter, fleeter, and smarter than regular people. All machines by now are marvels of low-tech ingenuity: trains, for example, move by pedals and wind. But Mirrorsun attacks in earnest, burning out all electrical circuits on Earth. Former spy chief Dramoren runs the Calculor in defense as Mirrorsun burns out even its own sunwings, each a half-mile wide, sending them crashing to Earth. Meanwhile, the human Central Confederation and the Southmoors are still killing each other and sweeping religious fervor has brought about the rise of Jemli the Prophet. As tidal forces burst the planet, only a restored Calculor can save humankind.

Beamflash to North American SF fans: Australia Forwarding Huge Fun by Moonwing.