This Virtual Night
When deep-space travel altered the genes of the first interstellar colonists, Earth abandoned them. But some of the colonies survived, and a new civilization of mental and physical “Variants” has been established, centered around clusters of space stations known as the outworlds.
Now the unthinkable has happened: a suicide assault has destroyed the life support system of a major waystation. All that is known about the young men responsible is that in their last living moments they were receiving messages from an uninhabited sector of space, and were playing a virtual reality game.
Two unlikely allies have joined forces to investigate the incident: Ru Gaya, a mercenary explorer with a taste for high risk ventures, and game designer Micah Bello, who must find the parties responsible for the attack in order to clear his name. From the corridors of a derelict station lost to madness to an outlaw stronghold in the depths of uncharted space, the two now follow the trail of an enemy who can twist human minds to his purpose, and whose plans could bring about the collapse of outworld civilization.
“The long-awaited second entry in Friedman’s Outworlds series (after 1998’s This Alien Shore) will only whet the appetites of hard sci-fi fans for more adventures set in Friedman’s expertly rendered vision of the future. Centuries prior, a major technological breakthrough, the Hausman Drive, enabled humans to colonize the universe, but the development came with a steep price, as the drive altered the DNA of all those who used it, leading them to have mutated offspring who appear inhuman. Earth cut off all contact with these Variant colonists, but now a new method of travel into deep space offers the possibility of reunification for humankind. Against this backdrop, a mysterious explosion on Harmony Station disables the station’s life support system and kills two players of Dragonslayer, a virtual reality game. Suspicions of sabotage lead two very different characters to investigate: Micah Bello, Dragonslayer’s designer, fears he will be falsely accused of planting malware within the game and seeks to clear his name, and mercenary Ru Gaya is hired to look into an abandoned research station which may be linked to the explosion. Friedman perfectly balances action and characterization while keeping up a page-turning pace. Readers won’t want to put this one down.”
Master of science fiction Friedman will satisfy your cravings for all things space-opera in this second Alien Shores novel, packed with action and imagined worlds and filled to the brim with sparkling detail.