[Robert J. Sawyer] Science Fiction Writer
Hugo and Nebula Winner

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by Nebula Award Winner

Robert J. Sawyer

Description from the December 1996 issue of Things To Come, the monthly catalog of the Science Fiction Book Club.

Highways in space. First we probed them. Then we used them. Now it's time to pay the toll.

How would you like to travel halfway across the galaxy in the blink of an eye? What's that you say? Been there, done that? OK, OK. Wormholes notwithstanding, we hazard a guess you've never seen anything quite like the spaceways in Starplex. A novel of hard SF by the author of the Nebula Award-winning The Terminal Experiment, it packs some pretty cool surprises within its pages.

Eighteen years ago, in 2076, space explorers discovered the shortcut network — a vast array of artificial gateways that allow instantaneous transfer between star systems. Although the builders were never found, other forms of intelligent life — the six-limbed, porcine Waldahudin and the Ibs, a wheeled race that communicates by flashing lights — joined with Earth's humans and dolphins to establish the Commonwealth of Planets. [SFBC logo]

Today, in 2094, members of the four races cruise the shortcut network on the city-sized exploration station Starplex. Outfitted with a crew of a thousand beings and 54 auxiliary ships, the diamond-shaped mothership functions both as research vessel and embassy for first-contact missions. But in the year since its launch, Starplex's missions have been decidedly uneventful.

Until now.

The shortcut seems like any other. But as Starplex begins to explore, anticipation turns to wonder . . . and then to fear. For here, on the other side of the galaxy, awaits the solution to the mystery of the universe . . . a fifth race of sapient beings . . . and a peril out of time itself.

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