Saturday, February 2, 2013
The Forge of God by Greg Bear
Written in 1987 and set in the mid 90s, after Jupiter's moon Europa disappears a strange object appears in the American desert resembling a cinder cone, and next to it is found a strange dying alien, The alien speaks English and has a message for Earth: "I'm afraid I have bad news".
Later a second cone is found in Australia but this time mechanical beings, robots, appear around it but these seem to be benevolent. While in the US the scientists are getting worried, those in Australia believe the aliens are our allies. Later, people encounter strange small robots; at first they fear them but it seems these 'spiders' are recruiting certain people on Earth for some purpose. These 'possessed' people receive messages from a network direct to their consciousness- a kind of direct internet.
Meanwhile a cult of 'Forge of Godders' springs up, setting up vigils next to the cinder cones, rather like druids attending Stonehenge.
No-one is really sure of the aliens intent until it is too late...
This is hard SF but its very reader friendly; there's no scientific preaching or technobabble, and despite being over 450 pages the story flows really well. So much so I'd have to say this is the best Greg Bear book I've read so far!
From Fantastic Fiction:
"A gripping panorama of a world in peril" (Chicago Sun-Times) from the author of Anvil of Stars. June 26, 1996: One of Jupiter's moons disappears. September 28, 1996: A mysterious cinder cone is found in Death Valley. October 1, 1996: An enormous granite mountain is discovered in Australia. It wasn't there six months ago. . . . "Bear's best novel".--San Diego Union.
There is a sequel written in 1992 called Anvil of Stars which I'm reading next...