Far-future yarn involving gravity engineering, programmable matter, electromagnetic grapples, and whatnot, from the author of Bloom (1998), etc. Supergenius Bruno de Towaji now lives alone on a private planetoid in the Kuiper Belt; having engineered the Iscog, or interplanetary telecom network capable of transmitting, or “faxing,” human patterns, out of collapsium, structured diamond-coated microscopic black holes, he’s fabulously rich. Then Tamra, Queen of the Solar System and Bruno’s former lover, requests his help: the ring collapsiter, a solar girdle of collapsium that allows the almost instantaneous transmission of signals, is falling into the sun—with catastrophic consequences. The ring is genius Marlon Sykes’s project, but Bruno effortlessly eclipses him and saves the day. Some years later—immortality is a reality thanks to “faxing,” then recovering bodies without disease or flaw—Queen Tamra again pleads for help. This time, energy beams have sliced the ring apart, and a copy of Marlon has been murdered. Again, Bruno must save the day—but who’s behind the attacks and the murder? When the ring’s sabotaged for a third time, Bruno receives a faxed copy of himself—and this copy’s been enslaved and tortured by Marlon Sykes to dramatize Bruno’s weakness of character. Worse, the last surviving copy of Tamra faces a fiery descent into the sun.
Brilliantly, breathtakingly inventive superscience—along with sophomoric sociology and a promising plot that languishes undeveloped.