The Clockwork Rocket

The Clockwork Rocket : Orthogonal Book One

3.63 (1,983 ratings by Goodreads)
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In Yalda's universe, light has mass, no universal speed, and its creation generates energy; on Yalda's world, plants make food by emitting light into the dark night sky. And time is different: an astronaut might measure decades passing while visiting another star, only to return and find that just weeks have elapsed for her friends.

On the farm where she lives, Yalda sees strange meteors that are entering the planetary system at an immense, unprecedented speed - and it soon becomes apparent that more of this ultra-fast material is appearing all the time, putting her world in terrible danger. An entire galaxy is about to collide with their own.

There is one hope: a fleet sent straight towards the approaching galaxy, as fast as possible. Though it will feel like weeks back home, on board, millennia will pass before the collision, time enough to raise new generations, and time enough to find a way to stop the ultra-fast material.

Either way, they have a chance to save everyone back on the home world.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 130 x 198 x 28mm | 300g
  • Gollancz
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9780575095144
  • 150,521

Review quote

In Yalda's universe, light has no universal speed and its creation generates energy. Plants make food by emitting their own light into the dark night sky.

Yalda is a farm girl, but her father is proud of her insatiable curiosity and defies tradition by sending her to school, where she learns that there are other things than motherhood . . .

And it is that curiosity that gives Yalda the strength to battle the strictures of her culture and the perils of biology to join the scientists who are slowly unravelling the mysteries of light. But when a series of strange meteors, the Hurtlers, begin entering the planetary system at an immense, unprecedented speed, it becomes apparent that her world is in imminent danger - and that dealing with the Hurtlers will require knowledge and technology far beyond anything her civilisation has yet achieved.

There is one audacious solution: if a spacecraft can travel fast enough, it will return after just a few years have passed at home - but on board, generations will have come and gone, giving the travellers time to discover the science their planet urgently needs to avert disaster.

THE CLOCKWORK ROCKET, the first book of the ORTHOGONAL trilogy, follows the travellers as they try to survive the perils of their mission and carve out meaningful lives for themselves, while the threat of annihilation hangs over the world they left behind.

'Have faith in Egan's ability to create stunning, complex futures, with grand themes given a human dimension' Booklist

'[Egan's] intellectually intense work creates the sense of a writer positioned at the genre's cutting edge, and in many ways setting the standard for others' Good Reading
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About Greg Egan

Greg Egan lives in Perth, Western Australia. He has won the JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL and has been short listed for the HUGO AWARD three times.
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Rating details

1,983 ratings
3.63 out of 5 stars
5 23% (458)
4 35% (695)
3 27% (543)
2 11% (211)
1 4% (76)
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