ISBN Otherland 2: River of Blue Fire
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Otherland. In many ways it is humankind's most stunning achievement: a private, multidimensional universe built over two generations by the greatest minds of the twenty-first century. But this most exclusive of places is also one of the world's best kept secrets, created and controlled by an organization made up of the world's most powerful and ruthless individuals, a private cartel known-to those who know of their existence at all-as The Grail Brotherhood.
Though their purpose in creating Otherland is still a mystery, it may not remain so for long. For they have exacted a terrible price from humanity in the process, and even their highly organized global conspiracy cannot hide the nature of their crimes forever.
. . . For here, millions of mixed shades and shadows,
drowned dreams, somnambulisms, reveries; all that
we call lives and souls, lie dreaming, dreaming, still-tossing like slumberers in their beds; the ever-rolling
waves but made so by their restlessness.
-Herman Melville, Moby Dick
NETFEED/NEWS: Schoolkids Need Waiver To Avoid Helmet
(visual: children trying on helmets)
VO: Children in Pine Station, a suburban town in Arkansas, must either wear a safety helmet during their entire school day or their parents must sign a waiver saying they will not sue for damages should their child be injured.
(visual: Edlington Gwa Choi, Pine Station School Dist. Superintendent)
GWA CHOI: "It's quite simple. We can't afford the coverage any more. They make nice, comfortable helmets now-the kids will hardly even notice they've got them on. We've done tests. And if they don't want them, that's okay too, as long as their folks take responsibility. . . ."
A beetle the size of a panel truck was bumping slowly along the shoreline, the baboon beside her was singing, and Renie was dying for a cigarette.
"And we go down,"
!Xabbu chanted in an almost tuneless voice,
"Down to the water.
Where the fish are hiding,
Hiding and laughing . . ."
"What's that?" Renie watched the beetle hunch across the uneven stones of the beach with the mindless forward drive of one of those drone robots working to tame the surfaces of Mars and the moon. "That song you're singing."
"My uncle used to sing it. It helped him be patient while waiting for fish to pass over the rock dam so we could catch them." !Xabbu scratched at his baboon pelt in a fastidious manner far more human than simian.
"Ah." Renie frowned. She was having trouble concentrating, and for once even !Xabbu's stories about his childhood in the Okavango Delta did not interest her.
If someone had told her that she would be transported to what was for all purposes a magical land, where history could be rewritten at a whim, or people could suddenly be shrunk to the size of poppy seeds, but that at least for this moment, her most pressing concern would have been the absence of cigarettes, she would have thought them mad. But it had been two harrowing days since she had smoked her last, and the momentary leisure of floating in midstream on a huge leaf that had once been a boat had finally given her a chance to notice what she was missing.
She pushed away from the leaf's curling edge. Better to do something, anything, than stand around obsessing like a chargehead with a fused 'can. And it was not as though everything was under control, she reflected. In fact, from the moment they had reached Atasco's virtual golden city, things had gone pretty damn poorly.
Across the expanse of water, the beetle had clambered up from the beach and was disappearing into a sea of grass stems, each as tall as the palm trees back home. She walked carefully toward the center of the leaf, leaving !Xabbu to sing his quiet fish-catching song and watch the now empty beach.
Sweet William's stage-vampire silhouette stood at the leaf's farthest edge, watching the opposite and more distant shoreline, but the others sat in the center with their backs against the huge center vein, a makeshift shelter of skin torn from the leaf's outer edge draped over their heads to protect them from the strong sun.
"How is he?" Renie asked Fredericks. The young man in quasi-medieval garb was still nursing his
Tad Williams is the brightest and best of the fantasists working in what is so often, and so inaccurately, described as the tradition of J.R.R. Tolkien . Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods
Irresistible characters, challenging ideas, an intricate, and startlingly possible plot everything any reader of SF or fantasy could ask for in a novel, with gorgeous writing besides. A dazzling book. Melanie Rawn, author of Dragon Prince
This brilliantly crafted book delivers even more than its title promises: not one other land but many come to life here, each engrossing, glittering, and dangerous. In this intricate geography of the mind Williams tells a cracking good story, but even as the suspense builds, you come to realize that you re seeing a strangely familiar world ours as it might come to be. Otherland is one of the best works of science fiction I ve ever read. Kathrine Kerr, author of the Dragon Mage series
Williams is an exciting and endlessly inventive writer whose character development is particularly strong, and his fans should roundly enjoy this volume while looking forward to the remaining installments. Publishers Weekly
Excellent, imaginative writing definitely make this a must for the audience of fantasy and cyber-fiction readers. VOYA
A powerful story.... Williams depicts the band s adventures vividly, sometimes giving them a satirical edge, sometimes a didactic one, and sometimes both.... The work of a powerful imagination. Booklist