A Science Fiction book by Gary Gibson.
Using artificially created wormholes, humanity has begun its first steps towards colonizing the galaxy. So far, all signs says that Humanity is alone. Or at least that was the theory until another wormhole network was discovered. People are sent to investigate, and bring back any advanced technology.
However, using a quirk in how the wormholes also sends the person through time, people soon discover a future Earth seemingly dead and covered in great plant shaped metal objects. The race is on to find a way to save the planet.
Provides examples of:
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence – Subverted. The Founder didn't travel to another plane, they just travelled to the end of time. Supposedly what the growths will do to the people on Earth.
- Casual Interstellar Travel
- Justified, lampshaded and in one case played straight. Because of the wormholes, most of your travel efforts will be getting to the gate. When Saul needs to get back to Earth from Newton he mentions that despite travelling millions of kilometres, it felt like three and a half kilometres for him. Three of these were spent walking to the array housing the wormholes, and another five hundred meters walking around the departure and arrival halls.
- There is also the old couple operating tourists trips to the moon using rockets. They mention that their customers are eccentric rich folk, but still, a working replica Saturn V is stretching things a bit far.
- Eldritch Abomination – The growths. Though Stone claims they're actually for our own good.
- Functional Addict – What Saul thinks he is. Given how getting high also means he will grab the Idiot Ball, it's safe to say it's a Subverted Trope.
- Humanoid Abomination – One possible interpretation for what happened to Stone. Other characters note that he certainly ain't human anymore.
- Idiot Ball – Whenever Saul gets high. Who would have thought that undercover police work and drugs go so bad together.
- Better to Die than Be Killed / Mercy Kill– What Hannover does to himself and his family when it becomes clear that they won't be able to flee the doomed Earth. He actually decides not to shoot Saul, because he doesn't have enough ammo to do it.
- Precursors – The Founders. According to Stone they were not a single species, but rather a civilizations comprised of several different species.
- Rule of Cool
- The only justification for going to the moon in a Saturn V.
- Also, the Pykrete guns. Why would anyone make guns that shoot pykrete bullets when normals bullets are just as good? No idea, but it's a neat trick.
- The Stars Are Going Out – Some scenes take place 1x10^14 years in the future. By this point most stars have died or been gobbled up by black holes. One character notes that seeing the black sky can turn religious people into The Fundamentalist, or it makes them lose their faith. Atheists, on the other hand, tend to fall on their knees and pray.
- Time Travel – A side effect of travelling through the wormholes is that you also travel through time. Subjectively, this is not a big deal, as it is easy to stay in touch with Earth and the colonies. But the first chapter takes place 1x10^14 years into the future. At this point all the stars in the night sky have gone cold.
- You Can't Fight Fate – Several characters note that because they have already observed the Earth being destroyed, they can't change that outcome. Stone claims this is what the Founders sought to avoid. By travelling through time to the very end of the universe, far beyond any wormhole, they can finally influence their own fate.