A collection of some of Bear's earlier stories, including the much-anthologised Blood Music, the thought-provoking Dead Run (what would you do under those circumstances?) and the deeply scary, or maybe just fun, Schrödinger's Plague.
An original anthology of "hard science fiction that engages strong emotions". They are all good stories, but I found that I preferred those with more emphasis on the hard SF than on the emotions. In fact, I thought the best story by far was Greg Egan's brilliant "Wang's Carpets" (buy the book just for this one: it's worth it), which had the hardest SF and the least emotions of the lot.
There was, of course, a catch. The Gurus warned of a far more malevolent life form, beings who had hounded them across the cosmos. The Antagonists – or Antags – have already established a beachhead on Mars. In exchange for all they’ve done for us, the Gurus want our help.
Enter Master Sergeant Michael Venn, a veteran Marine trained for off-world combat, dropped onto the Red Planet with his band of brothers on a mission to take down as many Antags as possible.
But from the moment they’re through the thin Martian atmosphere, their mission goes horribly, terribly wrong. Their training may not be enough to let them survive, let alone make it home alive. But someone has to defend humanity…
After barely surviving his last tour, Master Sergeant Michael Venn finds himself in enforced isolation. That is until, through a dangerous series of operations, he returns to Mars to investigate the Drifters – ancient artifacts suddenly reawakened on the Red Planet.
But another front in the war leads his team to make the difficult journey to Saturn's moon, Titan. Here, in the cauldron of war, hide new truths about the Drifters, the origin of life in our solar system, and the plans of the supposedly benevolent Gurus.
Secrets that might kill us all.
First it was Mars, then Titan – the battlefield changed but the war remained the same. Until now.
Master Sergeant Michael Venn and his soldiers now know the truth about what the supposedly benevolent Gurus are really doing in our solar system. A truth both Earth and the alien Antagonists are intent on wiping out.
The soldiers must forget their training, forget what they know, and journey to Planet X – infamous home of the Antagonists. Hunted by friend and foe alike and desperate for answers, they will do anything to survive.
Even team up with their greatest enemy.