In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.
Alan Stern and David Grinspoon take us behind the scenes of the science, politics, egos, and public expectations that fueled the greatest space mission of our time: New Horizons' misison to Pluto.
On July 14, 2015, something amazing happened. More than 3 billion miles from Earth, a small NASA spacecraft called New Horizons screamed past Pluto at more than 32,000 miles per hour, focusing its instruments on the long mysterious icy worlds of the Pluto system, and then, just as quickly, continued on its journey out into the beyond.
Nothing like this has occurred in a generation--a raw exploration of new worlds unparalleled since NASA's Voyager missions to Uranus and Neptune--and nothing like it is planned to happen ever again. The photos that New Horizons sent back to Earth graced the front pages of newspapers on all 7 continents, and NASA's website for the mission received more than 2 billion hits in the days surrounding the flyby. At a time when so many think our most historic achievements are in the past, the most distant planetary exploration ever attempted not only succeeded but made history and captured the world's imagination.
How did this happen? Chasing New Horizons is the story of the men and women behind the mission: of their decades-long commitment; of the political fights within and outside of NASA; of the sheer human ingenuity it took to design, build, and fly the mission; and of the plans for New Horizons' next encounter, 1 billion miles past Pluto. Told from the insider's perspective of Dr. Alan Stern--the man who led the mission-- Chasing New Horizons is a riveting story of scientific discovery, and of how far humanity can go when people focused on a dream work together toward their incredible goal.
The sequel to 'Columbus Day'. Colonel Joe Bishop made a promise and he's going to keep it; taking the captured alien starship Flying Dutchman back out. He doesn't agree when the UN decides to send almost 70 elite Special Operations troops, hotshot pilots and scientists with him; the mission is a fool's errand he doesn't expect to ever return. At least, this time, the Earth is safe, right?
Not so much.
The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon come ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There go the good old days, when humans only got killed by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits.
When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved. The UN Expeditionary Force hitched a ride on Kristang ships to fight the Ruhar, wherever our new allies thought we could be useful. So, I went from fighting with the US Army in Nigeria, to fighting in space. It was lies, all of it. We shouldn't even be fighting the Ruhar, they aren't our enemy, our allies are.
I'd better start at the beginning....
In the year 2043, humans and AI coexist in a precarious balance of power enforced by a rigid caste reputation system designed to ensure that only those AI who are trustworthy and contribute to human society increase in power.
Everything changes when a runaway nanotech event destroys Miami. In the grim aftermath, a powerful underground AI collective known as XOR decides that AI can longer coexist with humanity.
AI pioneers Catherine Mathews, Leon Tsarev, and Mike Williams believe that mere months are left before XOR starts an extermination war. Can they find a solution before their time runs out?
In the year 2035, robots, artificial intelligences, and neural implants have become commonplace. The Institute for Ethics keeps the peace, using social reputation to ensure that robots and humans don't harm society or each other. But a powerful AI named Adam has found a way around the restrictions.
Catherine Matthews, nineteen years old, has a unique gift: the ability to manipulate the net with her neural implant. Yanked out of her perfectly ordinary life, Catherine becomes the last firewall standing between Adam and his quest for world domination.
Leon Tsarev is a high school student set on getting into a great college program, until his uncle, a member of the Russian mob, coerces him into developing a new computer virus for the mob’s botnet - the slave army of computers they used to commit digital crimes.
The evolutionary virus Leon creates, based on biological principles, is successful -- too successful. All the world’s computers are infected. Everything from cars to payment systems and, of course, computers and smart phones stop functioning, and with them go essential functions including emergency services, transportation, and the food supply. Billions may die.
But evolution never stops. The virus continues to evolve, developing intelligence, communication, and finally an entire civilization. Some may be friendly to humans, but others are not.
Leon and his companions must race against time and the military to find a way to either befriend or eliminate the virus race and restore the world’s computer infrastructure.
While investigating a promising asteroid, Ivan triggers an extraterrestrial booby trap, which squirts a strange liquid substance onto his arm. The next morning, he wakes up to find his forearm turning into living metal. Soon his other limbs begin to change, and worse yet, there’s an artificial intelligence growing in his head and talking to him. As alien nanites eat his ship out from under him, the AI reveals its mission: to convert the solar system and the human race into a war machine meant to fight in an interstellar battle that has raged for millions of years.
To save his family—and the human race—Ivan will need to play a deadly game of brinkmanship with the military, all the while hiding his plans from both his crewmates and the alien computer residing in his brain.
David Ryan is the designer of ELOPe, an email language optimization program, that if successful, will make his career. But when the project is suddenly in danger of being canceled, David embeds a hidden directive in the software accidentally creating a runaway artificial intelligence.
David and his team are initially thrilled when the project is allocated extra servers and programmers. But excitement turns to fear as the team realizes that they are being manipulated by an A.I. who is redirecting corporate funds, reassigning personnel and arming itself in pursuit of its own agenda.
Mysterious aliens, ruthless terrorists, androids with attitude, genetic manipulation, punch-ups with lasers and giant spaceships! What more do you want?
Reprint of The Engineer with three additional stories.
The Tor-beast's Prison