The Light of Other Days

Arthur Charles Clarke, Author, Stephen Baxter, Joint Author Tor Books $24.95 (316p) ISBN 978-0-312-87199-4
HTwo titans of hard SF--multiple award-winning British authors Clarke (Rendezvous with Rama, etc.) and Baxter (The Time Ships, etc.)--team up for a story of grand scientific and philosophical scope. Ruthless Hiram Patterson, the self-styled ""Bill Gates of the twenty-first century,"" brings about a communication revolution by using quantum wormholes to link distant points around Earth. Not content with his monopoly on the telecommunications industry, Patterson convinces his estranged son, David, a brilliant young physicist, to work for him. While humanity absorbs the depressing news that an enormous asteroid will hit Earth in 500 years, David develops the WormCam, which allows remote viewers to spy on anyone, anytime. The government steps in to direct WormCam use--but before long, privacy becomes a distant memory. Then David and his half-brother, Bobby, discover a way to use the WormCam to view the past, and the search for truth leads to disillusionment as well as knowledge. Only by growing beyond the mores of the present can humanity hope to survive and to deal with the threats of the future, including that asteroid. The exciting extrapolation flows with only a few missteps, and the large-scale implications addressed are impressive indeed. For both authors the novel's conclusion takes place in familiar thematic territory, offering a final, hopeful transcendence for humanity. With Clarke's and Baxter's names behind its potent story, this one could sell big--and to the movies as well as to the reading public. $250,000 ad/promo. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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