Masters of artifact-based world-building, Benford and Niven have created a fascinating structure, the Bowl, and added politics, varied alien societies, and advanced technologies. The first team sent down to the Bowl escapes with the help of some snakelike aliens. The other team has escaped Folk custody and flees across the Bowl, aided by the Sil, another humanoid species. Assumptions are challenged; a threatening message comes in from Glory, the SunSeeker’s original destination; and the secret origin of the Folk comes out. There are creatures living in and on the Bowl beyond human imagination, with their own goals, and the Folk have overstepped their role as enforcers of equilibrium among the many species of the Bowl. The humans are a disruptive influence, too chaotic for this closed system, and by the end of the book, everything will be different on the Bowl and the SunSeeker. From its origin, in a vast engineered world, to the concluding social upheaval, the story is a solid adventure and entertaining speculation on the lives of alien creatures. --Regina Schroeder
About the Author
GREGORY BENFORD is professor of physics at the University of California, Irvine, and lives in Irvine. Benford is a winner of the United Nations Medal for Literature, and the Nebula Award for his classic novel Timescape.
LARRY NIVEN is the author of the Ringworld series and many other science fiction masterpieces. His Beowulf’s Children, coauthored with Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes, was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in Chatsworth, California.