Uncompromising dramatization of the futility of violence.
By 2017, a firestorm of wars over control of the Earth’s dwindling energy supplies engulfs most of the world. Platoon leader and former street orphan Eduardo Torres receives orders to turn a Pacific island into an emergency landing strip. The mission turns into a fiasco—but Torres encounters a strange old man whose powerful computer program holds the design for a quantum energy battery. Torres consults his colleagues Sergeant Polaski and MI (manufactured intelligence) expert Katherine Chan. In exchange for the batteries, they demand a revival of the suspended space colonization program. An already-completed hyperspace wormhole leads to star-system Holzstein, which is known to have planets. Paranoid MI whiz Anne Miller constructs a fleet of MI drones to explore Holzstein and another promising system beyond a second wormhole, since, despite the batteries, Earth is dying. Once the colony fleet passes through into Holzstein, some groups attempt to grab the habitable planets Asile and Boar River, while another blockades the second wormhole after having sent ships through to explore the Earth-like planet Serenitas. Torres and his allies, seemingly unable to control the increasingly single-minded and ruthless Polaski and forced to police the numerous conflicts, establish a military base on a frigid, high-gravity planet and wait for the Serenitas drones to report back. Years pass without result. Finally, Torres sneaks another probe through the wormhole; it discovers that the original drones have been destroyed, along with the ships that went through after them. Worse, the system contains an alien fleet, which promptly follows them back to Holzstein—aliens powerful enough to destroy everyone.
Inventive, disturbing, intriguingly populated and utterly fascinating: an altogether remarkable debut.