The Wild (Requiem for Homo Sapiens No. 2)

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9780553289664: The Wild (Requiem for Homo Sapiens No. 2)
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A galactic search for the truth fires this magnificent epic of war and discovery on both a human and cosmic scale.The Wild: a chaotic place where ten elite lightship pilots dared to venture. A place where one of those pilots, Danlo wi Soli Ringess, will learn the fate of his father. Did Mallory Ringess die during that first expedition to the Wild? Or did he become a god? Opinions vary, but Danlo's search is focused on one objective: the truth. It is a truth that will not only reveal his father's assassin, but could also lay bare the secret to a killer virus that only Danlo survived.

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About the Author:

David Zindell's short story Shanidar was a prize-winning entry in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest. He was nominated for the 'best new writer' Hugo Award in 1986. Gene Wolfe declared Zindell as 'one of the finest talents to appear since Kim Stanley Robinson and William Gibson - perhaps the finest.' His first novel, Neverness was published to great acclaim.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The Mission

Each man and woman is a star.
The stars are the children of God alone in the night;
The stars are the wild white seeds burning inside a woman;
The stars are the fires that women light inside men;
The stars are the eyes of all the Old Ones who have lived and died.
Who can hold the light of the wild stars?
Gazing at the bright black sky,
You see only yourself looking for yourself.
When you look into the eyes of God,
They go on and on forever.
--From the Devaki Song of Life

It is my duty to record the events of the glorious and tragic Second Mission to the Vild.  To observe, to remember, to record only--although the fate of the galaxy's dying stars was intimately interwoven with my own, I took little part in seeking out that vast, stellar wasteland known as the Vild, or the Wild, or the Inferno, or whatever ominous name that men can attach to such a wild and hellish place.  This quest to save the stars was to be for others: eminent pilots such as the Sonderval and Aja and Alark of Urradeth and some who were not yet famous such as Victoria Chu and my son, Danlo wi Soli Ringess.

Like all quests called by the Order of Mystic Mathematicians, the Second Vild Mission had an explicit and formal purpose: to establish a new Order within the heart of the Vild, to find the lost planet known as Tannahill; to establish a mission among the Ieaders of man's greatest religion and win them to a new vision; and, of course, to stop the man-doomed stars from exploding into supernovas.  All seekers of the Vild took oaths toward this end.  But as with all human enterprises, there are always purposes inside purposes.  Many attempted the journey outward across the galaxy's glittering stars out of the promise of adventure, mystery, power, or even worldly riches.  Many spoke of a new phase in human evolution, of redeeming both past and future and fulfilling the ancient prophecies.  All together, ten thousand women and men braved the twisted, light-ruined spaces of the Vild, and thus they carried inside them ten thousand individual hopes and dreams.  And the detpest dream of all of them (though few acknowledged this even to themselves) was to wrest the secrets of the universe from the wild stars.  Their deepest purpose was to heal the universe of its wound, and to this impossible end they pledged their devotion, their energies, their genius, their very lives.

On the twenty-first of false Winter in the year 2954 since the founding of Neverness, the Vild Mission began its historic journey across the galaxy.  In the black, cold, vacuum spaces above the City of Light (or the City of Pain as Neverness is sometimes known), in orbit around the planet of Icefall, Lord Nikolos Sar Petrosian had called together a fleet of ships.  There were ten seedships, each one the temporary home of a thousand akashies, cetics, programmers, mechanics, biologists, and other professionals of the Order. There were twelve deep ships as round and flat as artificial moons; the deep ships contained the floating farms and factories and assemblers that would be needed to establish a second Order within the Vild.

And, of course, there were the lightships.  Their number was 254.  They were the glory of Neverness, these bright, shining slivers of spun diamond that could pierce the space beneath space and enter the unchartered seas of the manifold where there was neither time nor distance nor light.  A single pilot guided each lightship, and together the pilots of Vild Mission would Iead the seedships and deep ships across the stars.

To the thousands of Ordermen who had remained behind (and to the millions of citizens of Neverness safe by the fires of their dwellings), the fleet that Lord Petrosian had assembled must have seemed a grand array of men and machines.  But against the universe, it was nothing.  Upon Lord Petrosian's signal, the Vild ships vanished into the night, 276 points of light lost into the billions of stars of the Milky Way.

Lightships such as the Vivasvat and The Snowy Owl fell from star to star, and the mission fleet followed, and they swept across the Civilized Worlds.  And wherever they went, on planets such as Orino or Nenet or Valevarc, the manswarms would gather beneath the night skies in hope of bearing witness to their passing.

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