After Atlas: A Planetfall Novel by Emma NewmanAfter Atlas: A Planetfall Novel by Emma Newman

After Atlas: A Planetfall Novel

byEmma Newman

Paperback | November 8, 2016

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Clarke Award Shortlist

Acclaimed author Emma Newman returns to the captivating universe she created in Planetfall with a stunning science fiction mystery where one man’s murder is much more than it seems...

Gov-corp detective Carlos Moreno was only a baby when Atlas left Earth to seek truth among the stars. But in that moment, the course of Carlos’s entire life changed. Atlas is what took his mother away; what made his father lose hope; what led Alejandro Casales, leader of the religious cult known as the Circle, to his door. And now, on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of Atlas’s departure, it’s got something to do why Casales was found dead in his hotel room—and why Carlos is the man in charge of the investigation.
To figure out who killed one of the most powerful men on Earth, Carlos is supposed to put aside his personal history. But the deeper he delves into the case, the more he realizes that escaping the past is not so easy. There’s more to Casales’s death than meets the eye, and something much more sinister to the legacy of Atlas than anyone realizes...
Emma Newman is the author of Planetfall and a professional audiobook narrator, narrating short stories and novels in all genres. She also cowrites and hosts the Hugo nominated podcast, “Tea and Jeopardy.” Emma is a keen role-player, gamer and designer-dressmaker.
Title:After Atlas: A Planetfall NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.9 inPublished:November 8, 2016Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0425282406

ISBN - 13:9780425282403

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Challenging in the beginning but worth it Be prepared to be absolutely lost for the first few chapters (and maybe after also). The book is set in a different sort of Universe, where mathematical calendars as well as the physical placement of individuals in relation to each others (formations) seem to influence the fabric of the universe... Lost? So am I, still, I think... It is never explained explicitly, you have to piece this out by yourself. I like this sort of world building, where you are catapulted in a universe completely different than ours, and where we have to accept that we won't understand the underlying physics. After a while you start to understand the logic of the world, but it remains hard to be able to visualize it, which is one of the main problem I had with the book. But the story is more than just this new world building, and we are also introduced to a completely different form of governance of a sort of empire. The characters are interesting, the story compelling. You may want to re-read the book once you're done, this time with a full appreciation of the universe it is set in.
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh Why only 3 stars? Let’s start with being confused the entire book. The world building is zero. Are we supposed to know what the calendrical spike & heretical formations are? What does mathematics have to do with all of this? Then, there’s the heptarchate & the hexarchate. A little more explanations please would have been nice. When they fight, they use formations & colour & math? I’m also not sure if the characters are likable. Not much is really known about them. Except for Jedao. I think that his background had the most building. All in all, I was not overly impressed with this book.
Date published: 2017-09-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great follow up to Planetfall Combines sci-fi and mystery into a captivating read. Great follow up to Planetfall that provides a lot of background to the Atlas mission.
Date published: 2017-08-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Okay debut SF novel While this book started out interesting, I felt it devolved into a bit of a mess. I enjoyed the interactions between Cheris and Jedao as they plan the siege of the Fortress of Needles. But as the novel progresses, the author adds more POVs that took me away from that most interesting part. The characters that are followed in the new POVs aren't given any context and its hard to care about the fate of these characters when the reader isn't aware of their mission, and they only exist for several pages. In this future, its presented that technology seems to be based on the calendar used within the galactic empire. Now, I'm willing to allow unexplainable science/technology in a space opera story. What's frustrating is that everything is based on calendars (including being the basis of the heretics holding the Fortress) but there is never any reference point established. There are no stakes when a new weapon is introduced because we don't know what it does, why its dangerous nor why any of the other weapons couldn't counteract it. Its all jargon with no substance. I have no interest in continuing on with this series.
Date published: 2016-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beyond The Rift Beautifully written, thought-provoking short stories riffing on the nature of sentient creatures, (optimistcally) including us.
Date published: 2015-09-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Compelling if a little bleak Loved the concept of blindsight, of seeing without seeing consciously, and the meaning of consciousness. Also the reinvention of the vampire mythos as an evolutionary sidestep, I found coolly underplayed. Very well written. Looking forward to reading echopraxia.
Date published: 2015-07-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not "techy" enough for this book! I found this book was interesting as per the author's vision of our ability to modify through technology our brain function to increase intelligence, learning etc....but most of the time I felt I was lost in the wilderness regarding the characters. I found I didn't care about them all that much. Too much was unsaid for me. A complicated story line that didn't draw me in. I love sci-fi, but this didn't work for me.
Date published: 2015-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hell of a ride, although doesn't quite live up to the first book... In Echopraxia, posthumans rule the world, but there's still a place for ordinary baseline humans... just barely, as a failsafe, a measure of comparison, a pawn in the schemes of hive minds, alien intelligences and more. Daniel Bruks is one such baseline, manipulated into joining a scientific religious order out on a search for the source of signals from space, which may be an alien intelligence, but the hive mind thinks might be God. This is a follow-up to Blindsight one of my favorite SF books ever, and as such, has a pretty high bar right off the bat. And, at least if you liked Blindsight, this is a very entertaining read with a lot of the same appealing features. There's unflinching looks at human nature. There's cutting edge science dribbled throughout, sometimes related to the main plot, sometimes just as background. There's a lot of interest in neurology and the myriad of ways brains can go wrong. There's a controversial thesis that the author doesn't necessarily force belief in, but lets you explore along with him. And there are some messed-up characters but who you wind up liking nonetheless. There's manipulations by people who are way smarter than humans. There's a vampire that's worth reading even if you hate vampires in fiction. However, and perhaps this is inevitable, though good, Echopraxia is not quite as good. Blindsight was like a perfect jewel discovered in the wild... the themes and the science and the central "big idea" thesis and the story just fit together, no scene wasted, everything bounced off everything else, resonating, everything in service of the perfect structure. Here, at least on first glance, it's like a vein of precious metal... still valuable, still well worth going after, but it's more muddled and haphazard, it meanders here and there without a clear direction, and there'll probably be some digging involved to get the full worth out of it. The characters aren't quite as memorable (although the relationship between Bruks and Moore is a standout), there's more suspension of disbelief required, and and on a visceral level the story isn't quite as satisfying. The first book had a had sort of a theme of "humans (who may be somewhat manipulated by transhumans who are more intelligent than them, but still comprehensible) going up against something they are woefully unequipped for, nobly trying their best anyway, and stumbling upon a mind-blowing truth", which is emotionally satisfying. Echopraxia is sort of "guy tags along incomprehensible superior life forms on a quest and muddles through a hopeless situation without much understanding" which is... less so. I started thinking of it almost as a "The Fantastic Journey"-type story written by posthumans... a tale about some particularly clever pets (humans) who lose track of their masters and try to make their way back home without them. These are complaints of degrees of great. I still love the book. It's still on my short-list for best SF novel of the year. And if there's every a third one, I'll absolutely buy it (and chalk up any problems with this one as "middle book syndrome"). It's only by comparison that it suffers, just a little bit. It's even possible some of this will be improved on a reread... every time I reread Blindsight I got more out of it, and noticed more poetic turns of phrase that I completely missed the first time. This one might be the same way... but, as it stands now, those are my feelings. Oh, and while you CAN read this without having read Blindsight, I don't recommend it, you lose a lot of the texture to Jim Moore's story. But buy both, they're worth it (and you can download Blindsight for free from the author's website if you don't want to buy it).
Date published: 2014-10-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Left me confused Blindsight is the first book of The Theseus Consortium. It follows the ordeal of Siri Keeton as he travels beyond the reaches of our universe to determine the nature of the earlier appearance of alien technology around the earth. He is accompanied by a crew lead by a long dead and resurrected vampire, a group of four linquists/first contact specialists in one body, a medical scientist and a military strategist. Siri is a synthesist, whose job it is to observe and send home reports. This is first and foremost a story of first contact. The tough part was to identify the alien(s) and distinguish between smart technology and sentience. While the reader is following the story of the aliens, we are also learning about Siri, his life and how he fits in with the rest of the crew. It's a very different world than the one we live in now. People can be moded with all sorts of implants though I am left wondering whether that makes them more or makes them less human in the end. I enjoyed the path of this story, but will admit, that at times I couldn't follow whatever philosophy Mr. Watts was discussing. Several time, Sarasti, the vampire, had to lead Siri to understand something. This something was never stated, I imagine that I was supposed to be able to follow the logic and figure it out myself, I never did
Date published: 2014-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good set of fresh ideas Overall an novel cornucopia of ideas piled together.
Date published: 2014-07-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Deep, daring, and deliberately thoughtful Science fiction is an incredibly diverse genre, both in terms of content and in terms of storytelling. At one end of the spectrum you have your pulp sci-fi, rollicking adventure stories that often skirt the boundaries of science to tell their fantastic tales. Further along the line, at the middle of the spectrum, you find space opera, which generally uses (and often abuses) the more outlandish possibilities in science to tell a tale. Finally, at the other end of the spectrum you have hard science-fiction, which more often than not uses the techniques of the tale to convey the intricacies of its science. That, of course, is a gross simplification, but if we think of the spectrum in those terms, then Beyond the Rift is the kind of collection that often peers back towards the centre, but which is very firmly grounded in the hard. Peter Watts is an interesting guy, a scientist, an author, and something of a political philosopher. He's been described as "too dark" by some, and as both "exhilarating" and "deeply paranoid" by others. To dismiss him as just another depressing, pessimistic hard science fiction author, however, is to do him a huge disservice. Personally, I would lean more towards terms like deep, daring, and deliberately thoughtful. He's an author who isn't afraid to stare off into the bleakness of space and ponder our own insignificance, but one who also isn't afraid to look inward and question the very core of what makes us human. I won't attempt to tackle everything in the collection, but instead look at the highlights. "The Things" kicks off the anthology with, as he describes it himself, a bit of fan fiction. Watts takes the story of The Thing and turns it inside out, exploring the shapeshifting monster as not the aggressor, but the victim. He stares back at humanity from an evolutionary distance, expressing not the horror of the monster lurking inside, but the emptiness it inhabits. "The Island" is a bleak, creepy sort of tale, one that tackles the subjects of first contact, artificial intelligence, genetic manipulation, and extended lifespans. It's absolutely stunning in its ingenuity and scope, but rather cold in its long-term prognosis. "The Second Coming of Jasmine Fitzgerald" is one of my favorites, a simple story about sanity and the war between the psyche and the soul, which dares you to accept the fact that it may also be about resurrection and restoration as well. "The Eyes of God" is absolutely brilliant in its exploration of free will, of human privacy, and of the question between intent and action. It takes a bold, almost frightening twist at the end, when you find out what heinous sin the computer deemed the protagonist to be capable of, but Watts asks some crucial questions here that force the reader to come to a difficult conclusion. "Nimbus" is probably the simplest, most straightforward of all the tales, but I liked its idea of an antagonistic sky almost as much as I appreciated its exploration of a father's conflicting emotions. "Mayfly" continues with the parental theme, but takes a hard look at what happens when we dare to mess with the natural order of conception, birth, and nurturing. "Ambassador" takes another stab at the first contact story, but perverts the assumption that any race intelligent enough to make first contact must be benevolent. It's a tale with some rather chilling implications, not the least of which is how far the instinct for self-preservation can push someone. "Hillcrest vs. Velikovsky" is a short, straightforward tale that almost seems out of place in the collection, but which is still intriguing. Watts asks whether faith can really overcome human illness, and then asks whether it's a crime to reveal that placebo for what it is. It's almost a cruel sort of courtroom drama, but fascinating on an intellectual (and even spiritual) level. The collection ends with "A Niche" that, quite literally, takes us into the rift itself. It's probably the most complex narrative in the collection, one in which a woman is altered to live underwater. It's a very psychological tale, one which forces a confrontation between the scientist and the experiment. Watts baits us early and takes his time reeling us in, waiting for the very end to reveal precisely what's going on, but the payoff is worth it. Like I said, Beyond the Rift is deep, daring, and deliberately thoughtful. It's not a collection to be breezed through in a few sittings, but one which demands we pause after each story to let it settle, and to see what our imagination can make of it. It is definitely hard in the sense of where it falls in the genre spectrum, but easier reading than most tales claiming to share that same space.
Date published: 2013-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mind Blowing Sci-fi Horror I had asked some writer friends of mine for some science-fiction/horror. Many of them mentioned this book, and I had also seen it on a number of lists online, so I figured I would pick it up. I had read one previous horror/sci-fi and was interested in seeing what Watts would present for this book. It's easy to see why Watts got nominated for a Hugo because of this work. From the moment I started reading to the moment I put it down, I was gripped by the storyline, and no matter how often I would try to set it aside to read something else for a bit, I kept returning. But why? Watts presents a lot of information one would expect to find in a hard science fiction tale in such a way that you don't get bogged down in the information dump within 'Blindsight'. In its pages, you learn a lot about how the human brain functions, as well as our messed up view of the world because of the very way our eyes work. It's amazing stuff, and Watts presents it in such a way as that you don't feel like you're wading through heavy information. Instead, through his characters and the plot, it all makes logical sense as it hits you. It explains why the aliens can do what they do, and in doing so, makes it that much more horrific. In fact, that's a large part of the horror in this story. Sure, there are huge elements that grip you and won't let go. I had thought that the vampire would play a huge roll when I first picked this book up, and I was wrong. The horror is our own brains and how we deal with things around us, and how subtle things in our world can f*ck with us without us really even knowing why or that it is happening. The science in 'Blindsight' is also well researched, and this book has an extensive bibliography which I was amazed at when I reached it. But this is only the beginning as to why this book got such a high rating from me. The characters were extremely well done. Each was easy to relate to and behaved in a realistic manner. You didn't have to guess at their actions, you knew how they would react to the world around them. Part of this had to do with Watts main character, a person who had to observe people to understand them. It presented the reader with an excellent way to help them to relate to characters that otherwise they may not have been able to. After all, how does an every day person relate to someone with multiple personalities, or someone who is jacked into computers most of the time? And Watts presentation of the viewpoint of someone missing half a brain is masterful to say the least, and horrific to boot. At the end of the novel, Watts mentions that he wanted his aliens to be just that...alien. At this too he succeeded wonderfully, and the sheer alien factor of their species is both believable and spooky. Their abilities, the way that Watts has put them together, all combine to create something that we as humans have a hard time dealing with. It was refreshing to see a science fiction book that didn't rely on your typical bipedal, humanoid aliens, and still do it well. One last thing that makes this story come across as well as it does is the format in which it's presented. At the end, the main character states that the entire novel is him talking to himself, recording his experiences. They aren't one straight thought, but rather a collection of instances that happened to him. 'Blindsight' reads like that, like a collection of instances that were related to the reader to the best of the person telling the story's ability. In this case, because of the mental issues of the main character, the story itself opens up and is that much more in depth. My only issue with this book is the inclusion of the vampire. Though a wonderful element and one that I thought was handled very, very well, I couldn't see a point to really put him in the story. You could effectively replace the vamp with someone else and the story would have worked out just as well. Yes, it added an edge to the story, and yes, Watts wrote a vampire as a vampire should be. But I still couldn't see the point of him being there other than to add a level of creepy to the entire tale, something that was already handled well by the aliens and their ship. Still, the vampire element is handled well enough that it's a small complaint on my part. So there you have it. If you are looking for a story that handles science fiction and horror elements well, I would recommend this to you in a heart beat. It's a wonderful story and well worth the time to read. I will most likely be reading this again in the future, and will probably suggest it to my children when they are old enough. Go pick it up.
Date published: 2013-10-20

Read from the Book

1It's times like these, when I'm hunkered in a doorway, waiting for a food market of dubious legality to be set up, that I find myself wishing I could eat like everyone else. I watch them scurry past, hurrying back to their warm little boxes with their bright lights and distractions, a hot meal just the press of a button away. They'll stand there in front of their printers, watching that artificial shit being spurted out of dozens of tiny nozzles with clinical precision to form lasagna or something, and their stomachs will rumble and their mouths will water and, oh God, just the thought of it is making me nauseous. As much as it disgusts me, I envy them.It's cold and damp, the November sun is setting in the middle of the afternoon and I am beyond tired. The satisfaction of finishing my latest case didn't last long in the face of my hunger, and I just want the truck to arrive, to buy what I need, to get home and to shut the door on it all. I'll make a casserole, I promise myself, like a parent promising a grumbling toddler he'll get a toy if he behaves. There's some beef left in the freezer. And if there's flour (I try not to get my hopes up), I'll make dumplings, stodgy and crisped on the top like the Brits make them. I haven't eaten since an early and inadequate breakfast, and just imagining what that casserole could smell like makes me close my eyes and smile to myself, just for a moment. I turn my collar up and tuck my hands back into my pockets. I'm hoping that here in this little nook no one will see me and feel they're entitled to come and talk to me just because they've seen me on the news and docu-feeds.A woman walks in front of the doorway and looks straight at me, pausing midstride as if she's listening for something I'm about to say. I pull back into the shadows when she laughs, worried that she's recognized me, before realizing she's talking to an avatar projected by her chip. She's experiencing walking with a friend, chatting and laughing away. When I shift to the other side of the doorway she blinks with a yelp, seeing me for the first time, and mutters an apology in Norwegian.I rest my head against the door behind me, waiting for my pulse to settle again."Would you like to play a game while you're waiting?" Tia asks."No." Now I'm the one looking like I'm talking to myself. Not that it matters. Most of the people I can see in this dingy London backstreet are talking to either projected avatars or, like me, just the voices of their Artificial Personal Assistants, delivered directly into their brains via neural implant."We're next to a node for a new urban-enhancement game with a free trial to-""No.""Would you like me to stop making urban-environment interactivity suggestions when you are off duty?""Yes. Why are you making them, anyway?""A recent change in the licensing agreement between-""Save it, Tia. I don't need to know." It's the first rule of any change to a licensing agreement: it's not for the benefit of the end user, no matter what they say.Where the fuck is the van?I check the time and it's only five p.m. It feels like two in the morning. There's a steady pounding throb at the back of my head, and my hunger has moved from gnawing, through occasional bouts of light-headedness, to making me want to kill someone. Then I hear the low whine of the van's engine and step out as it parks, pulling my small wheeled case behind me, ready to muscle my way to the front when it opens its back doors.Everyone in the loitering crowd has their public profile set to private, as do I. I recognize some of them from other markets. There's the man with the tiny dog that bites anyone who goes near, the little shit. There's the woman with the umbrella that's almost taken my eye out several times, and she knows she's doing it but has no fucks to give for a rival consumer. There's the old dear who looks like she could be the sweetest grandma straight out of a department store Christmas mersive advert, but I know she's just as willing to grind her bootheels into someone else's toes if they push too much from the back.The driver gets out, moves to the side of the van and slides the side door across just enough to pull out the folding table, while his passenger jumps out and scans the street. They've just made a delivery to a supermarket down the road, one that's-like all of them-too expensive for most people to shop in. It has aisles filled with perfect vegetables and a counter with the freshest meat-actual real meat cut from real animals-all sparkling and brightly lit. I only know about it because of the mersive adverts that weasel their way in every few months or so before Tia closes the loophole they've exploited to get to me. Cooking with real, fresh food is the province of the rich. Rich enough to buy it, or rich enough to have the space for dirt to grow it, or rich enough to hire space and equipment to have other people grow it just for them.This impromptu market is a testament to mankind's ability to exploit every possible consumer niche. The driver has come from a wholesaler who has realized that there are people willing to pay good money for the stock that the supermarkets won't take. So all the rejects get put into boxes and loaded onto the last delivery of the day, to be sold in a backstreet that smells of piss and misery. Now it's filled with people who are doing well enough to spend money on food items considered luxuries, but not quite well enough to afford to do it in a nice building with beautiful staff and real champagne given at the door.I'm not doing well enough to have the money to do this. I've made greater sacrifices to get this food. I doubt any of the others have given up years of freedom to be able to buy a few misshapen vegetables every week. I frown to myself, trying to stop thinking that way. I try to reframe it, the way Dee would. "It was a shitty choice," she'd say. "But at least it was one you got to make for yourself."It doesn't have the same effect when she's not here with me. No matter how much I try to spin it into something else, it doesn't alter the sheer injustice of it all. But as much as I want it to, my sacrifice doesn't give me a place at the front of the jostling throng that is slowly, reluctantly morphing into a queue. In moments I find myself behind the old woman and take care where I'm putting my feet. The man with the dog is farther back, his irritation expressed perfectly by the tiny, vicious snarling of the overgrown rat in his arms. There's a sharp, painful tap on the top of my head and I twist to see the woman with the umbrella."So sorry," she says with a fake smile."It's not raining," I say through gritted teeth."Oh, has it stopped?" She pretends not to have noticed and still doesn't fold the damn thing away. There's a slight narrowing of her eyes as she stares at me and I face front again, worrying that she's thinking she's seen me somewhere before.I turn my collar up as if against the wind, but it's more to cover as much of my face as possible. Crates of produce have been hauled out of the van and the driver has cranked one open already. He scoops out a few carrots, all huge, malformed things, looking like fetishes from some ancient magical ritual. He holds one up for the crowd, who laugh when they see how much it looks like a man running, with its split root and arm-like offshoots. Turnips are dumped next to them, then onions. It's as if the universe knew I wanted to cook a casserole."No need to push," the driver calls. "Plenty for sale tonight. Cooking apples too, when this doughnut"-he jerks a thumb at his assistant-"digs 'em out for ya."Tia informs me that the seller's APA has made contact and the handshake has been successful. All I need to do is pick what I want and our APAs will handle the rest. I swipe away a notification warning me that the ingredients I plan to buy will amount to an extra three hours on my contract to pay off the credit required.The queue shuffles forward as the first purchases are swiftly made. Only four people away from the table, I'm already earmarking the ones I hope will still be there when it's my turn. The seller glances down the line, sees me and winks. A recorded audio message comes in from him moments later and I give Tia permission to play it to me."I got some flour in the van for you and some sugar. You need to sieve 'em 'cos they was spillages, but it's all good 'cos it's a clean processing plant. No charge. My boy'll give 'em to ya round the front of the van after you got your veggies."Has it been sent to me in error? The message continues."I know you was the copper who got that bloke who was killin' the babies up north. Saw it on the feed. I know 'im, I thought, he's the one who buys me veggies. So there's extra for you whenever you come. Just don't tell no one. Next time I'll bring some beef if I can sneak it out. I got a baby grandson, see? Same age as that young lad, the last one that bastard got."The message ends, and for the first time in years I choose to seek out eye contact with another real human being because I genuinely want to. He meets my gaze and nods and I smile. I actually smile at someone I don't know. He looks away to serve the next customer and I'm left reeling from the body blow of the first act of kindness I can remember in years.The queue moves forward again, and even though the umbrella hits my head once more I don't have any anger left in me now. I ignore it and wait with newfound patience. There will be something left for me by the time I get there; I know it now.Minutes pass and then the hairs on the back of my neck prickle. I have the distinct impression someone is watching me. It's not the woman behind me-I can hear her arguing with the man behind her, who's also been hit by the umbrella. It's someone else. I tuck my chin into my coat and whisper to Tia."Who's in this crowd?""Everyone within a ten-meter radius, with the exception of the driver and sales assistant, have their public profiles set to private.""Read them anyway.""You are not currently assigned to a case. Please state your justification."I can't give the real reason, so I need to lie. If I push it too far, my breach of their personal privacy will be flagged in the system. "Possible criminal activity in progress." I pause, hoping that's enough.The gamble pays off; I'm in good standing at the Ministry of Justice and there's nothing in the system to suggest I ever abuse my privileges, so it gives me the benefit of the doubt. Tia pulls in the information that all the people around me would display about themselves if they had their profiles set to public, overlaying it across my vision as if the text is floating above the tarmac next to me. Before I even have the chance to scan the list, Tia highlights one and pulls it to the front, in line with a command I programmed years ago. That profile is now larger than the rest with a single keyword flashing.Journalist.Oh JeeMuh. Oh fuck, no. Not now.The omnipresent paranoia ratchets up a gear and my palms start to sweat. He must have followed me from the train station, old-school style. I read his profile and select the link to his portfolio. He's written several pieces about the Pathfinder. Of course he has; half of the journalists alive now have written some bullshit about that crazy woman who built a spaceship called Atlas and took the faithful off into space to find God. His most recent piece is an article on the capsule they left behind to be opened forty years later that will soon be opened, the one I've instructed Tia to remove all mentions of from my feeds. The grand opening is less than two weeks away and the speculation about its contents has gone from occasional and irritating to constant and unbearable.I force myself to appear calm, telling myself that I overreact to these people, and if I don't get a lid on this soon, it could be reported to my psych supervisor."Show him in the crowd, Tia."A small blue arrow appears at the right-hand edge of my vision and I twist until the arrow disappears and a bald black man in a heavy gray overcoat is outlined in blue. He's staring right at me and just a second of eye contact is sufficient to send my heart rate high enough to flash a notification from MyPhys. I look away as fast as I can, silently hoping he'll stay where he is.It's a ridiculous hope.There's only one person in front of me now, and the vegetables I've got my eye on are still there. I want to run but I need the food. I add a "Do not disturb" to my personal profile but I know it won't make any difference to that parasite. If anything, it'll probably make him even more keen to bother me. Journos are twisted sods.He's walking over and I ball my fists in my pockets. I fix my attention on the table ahead, tucking my nose beneath the top rim of the turned-up collar, even though it won't do a thing. I have to satisfy this primal urge to duck and hide somehow."Mr. Moreno," he says, even though his APA will be reminding him of the DND notice on my profile."I don't have anything to say.""I don't want to talk to you about the case."I channel my contempt into a long sideways glance. "I know."

Editorial Reviews

A Publishers Weekly Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Book of the Year"Newman writes with exquisite precision of grief, divided loyalties, and the struggle for self-actualization in this noir-inflected standalone...Gripping and sorrowful."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)"A lovely locked room mystery in which the stakes are incredibly high and the world is so very engaging....Emma Newman creates addictive page turners."—Starburst Magazine"Newman combines the classic mystery-novel whodunit with a frighteningly possible reality of corporate-owned governments...The overall feeling of something more sinister happening keeps the pages turning until the unexpected conclusion."—Booklist"A detective novel on acid...Newman's psychological insight is astute."—The Washington PostPraise for Planetfall   “Cathartic and transcendent.”—The New York Times   "Exceptionally engaging...A vivid, riveting read."—The Washington Post   “Think Interstellar, think Prometheus...Beautifully written.”—Stephen Baxter, national bestselling author of The Light of Other Days   “Gripping, thoughtful science fiction in the vein of Tiptree or Crispin. Unique, timely, and enthralling.”—Seanan McGuire, author of Once Broken Faith   “A fascinating and propulsive tale.”—Locus   “Incredibly well-realized world building…Thrilling.”—