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The Sky So Big and Black (Century Next Door, #4) John Barnes

The Sky So Big and Black (Century Next Door, #4)

John Barnes

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Kindle Edition
324 pages
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 About the Book 

At the end of the twenty-first century, Earth is under the control of a single intelligence, the apparently benign One True. Mars, meanwhile, is slowly terraforming, and the human settlers there are still free of One Trues control...but they need aMoreAt the end of the twenty-first century, Earth is under the control of a single intelligence, the apparently benign One True. Mars, meanwhile, is slowly terraforming, and the human settlers there are still free of One Trues control...but they need a pressure suits to survive outside, and it will be a century or more before the planets fit for terrestrial life.Terpsichore Murray is growing up on Mars. She wants to quit school and become, like her father, an ecoprospector. He has other ideas: he wants her to stay in school. He does want her along on his next long trip but only to conduct a group of younger kids from the highlands at Marss equator back to school in Wells City.What happens next will change Terpsichore, will change Mars, and will open the door to a new chapter in the history of intelligent beings in the solar system . . . all of them.....................They dont make em like that any more! say fans of the classic juvenile SF novels, Alexei Panshins Rite of Passage (1968) and the run of Robert A. Heinlein novels that begins with Rocket Ship Galileo (1947) and ends with Podkayne of Mars (1963). Except--John Barnes has made one like that: The Sky So Big and Black. The books brilliant teenage protagonist, hard science, brisk pace, didactic moments, and strong characterization make it clear that Barnes is working consciously in the tradition of Panshin and Heinlein (especially Heinleins Red Planet [1949] and Podkayne of Mars). Like his models, Barnes does a superb job. The Sky So Big and Black is a classic. Read it, and give it to any smart, perhaps-outcast young reader whom you want to infect with the science fiction meme. Terpsichore Teri Murray lives on Mars, an eco-prospector-in-training and the daughter of a widowed ecospector. Instead of gold, ecospectors seek underground rivers and gas pockets, which they blast to the Martian surface in hopes of earning fabulous wealth. The ecospector life is hard, primitive, dangerous, and perhaps doomed to extinction, as the Martian atmosphere thickens and the genetically engineered Mars-form humans increase their population. An Earth-form human, Teri doesnt want to give up ecospecting, which she loves as much as she hates the city and school where shes forced to spend part of every year. But she finds herself with new, far more ominous worries when a devastating planetwide disaster isolates the colonies from one another, strands Teri in the Martian outback with several injured young children, and opens the entire planet to attack by One True, the collective intelligence that rules Earth in a terrifyingly total dictatorship. --Cynthia Ward