Nebraska Center for Writers

Chimney Rock What the Critics Say
About Robert Reed

BENEATH THE GATED SKY
BEYOND THE VEIL OF STARS
BLACK MILK
THE CUCKOO'S BOYS
THE DRAGONS OF SPRINGPLACE
AN EXALTATION OF LARKS
MARROW
MERE
SISTER ALICE
THE WELL OF STARS



Beneath the Gated Sky
Copyright © 1998
by Robert Reed
Tor Books
How to Buy

The stars no longer shine at night. The Portal fills the sky, reflecting the earth's image back at itself. The Cosmic Events Agency sent Cornell through the Portal, to an alien world where he and a beautiful woman named Porsche together infiltrated the planet's native population for the sake of humanity. But Porsche is not human. She is one of the Few: a race of shape-changing aliens that secretly lives on millions of worlds across the universe. Unfortunately, Latrobe, leader of the CEA, also knows of the Few. And he has a diabolical plan of his own. — from the publisher

Reed is one of the best of today's science fiction writers. — Rocky Mounatin News

[A]liens of real depth and conviction, well-articulated plotting, above-average characters, and an absorbing narrative — all add up to Reed's best outing so far. — Kirkus Reviews


Beyond the Veil of Stars
Copyright © 1995
by Robert Reed
Tor Books
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A quirky but absorbing adventure novel distinguished by rare imagination and well-handled ideas. — Booklist


Black Milk
Copyright © 1991
by Robert Reed
Bantam Books
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[A] poignant story that explores the repercussions of humanity's search for perfection. The power of Reed's ... storytelling comes from his ability to filter adult foibles through the eyes of his child-narrator. — Library Journal


The Cuckoo's Boys
Copyright © 2005
by Robert Reed
Golden Gryphon
How to Buy

The Cuckoo's Boys reaffirms SF's function as a thoughtful and paradigm-subverting literary form, able to interrogate the immediacies of life as fluently as theoretically more focused "mundane" writing. Reed is not a comforting author, but the morals he draws are telling and necessary. In a somewhat stern manner, The Cuckoo's Boys is one of the strongest genre collections of the year. — Locus


The Dragons of Springplace
Copyright © 1999
by Robert Reed
Golden Gryphon Press
How to Buy

No American writer during the 1990s has published a more distinguished bibliography of first-rate science fiction than Robert Reed. In the title piece, a renegade misfit conquers the dragons and renews the threat of nuclear chaos aboard Springplace, a man-made repository for old reactor cores, dirty plutonium, and dismantled bombs. Another story is a sprawling intergalactic epic that takes place aboard a starship. Salvaged and commandeered by humans, the massive generation starship becomes the setting for a titanic struggle between two alien entities who engage in a monumental battle for survival. — from the publisher

Like Reed's 1997 novel Beneath the Gated Sky, these 11 short stories, all written since 1993 and originally published in Asimov's or the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, soar into boldly realized starscapes and plunge into profound human heartaches. With clean, convincing story lines, Reed moves easily from near-future encounters with alien visitors, as in his ingenious treatment of crop circles in "To Church with Mr. Multhiford" and the ominous avian roadrunner from an alternative Earth in "Stride," to humanity's far-future cosmic voyages, as in "Chrysalis," "Guest of Honor," "Aeon's Child" and "The Remoras." Sympathetic characterizations of underdog heroes and alien or android antagonists alike flesh out the common theme of this collection: a victimized outsider survives and prevails not by cunning or brute strength, but through compassion. Reed is particularly adroit at conveying the stupidity of war, another of his major concerns, and the sadistic collective urge to destroy weak, sick or merely "different" members of the human pack, as in the remarkably poignant "Waging Good," a startling glimpse of post-nuclear devastation. "Aeon's Child" falters slightly because of a conflict almost too vast to imagine, but most of these stories turn expertly upon a gasp of epiphany, the recognition that in undreamed-of futures, galactic deeps or a neighboring cornfield lies undeniable truth about what makes us human. — Publisher's Weekly

Eleven substantial stories. ... Ingenious yet disciplined ... and resolutely inquisitive, providing no easy answers — or easy questions, either. . — Kirkus Reviews


An Exaltation of Larks
Copyright © 1995
by Robert Reed
Tor Books
How to Buy

It's 1978 and you're a college senior. You see a cigar-store Indian who then mystifyingly vanishes. You are seduced by the literal woman of your dreams, and a turtle assures you that you are an integral part of some secret cosmic plan from the end of time. You're not crazy. Your name is Jesse Aylesworth, and your life as a coed magnet and the editor of the college newspaper is about to spin drastically out of control. ... It begins when an enigmatic woman named Sully appears out of the swirling snow one winter night and offers Jesse a ride. Then radios and televisions cease functioning. Peculiar events continue to occur with startling frequency. A change of cosmic proportions is coming — one that will both transform Jesse into an immortal, and remake our reality into a universe of eternal life. The Indian, a member of a time-traveling race, has come to recruit candidates for the giant leap through time. Jesse is their only hope for both the future and the past, but before he agrees to aid them, he wants some answers. Who is Sully? Is she manipulating Jesse only to sabotage the Indian's plan, or is she fantasy made flesh — a peasant maiden from the painted landscape of Jesse's dreams come true? Somehow, the fate of all time depends upon how Jesse answers these questions. — from the publisher

Although it begins on a normal-seeming college campus, Reed's latest ... expands to cover a setting and theme as grand as all the permutations of the galaxy. ... [T]he book rides far on the strength of Reed's virtuosic, amusingly surreal images of his brave, new, infinitely variable world. And, in an appealingly modest manner, it comes back to earth and an acceptance of the reality we know. — Publisher's Weekly

Reed's highly praised novels offer powerful visions of vividly rendered everyday circumstances suddenly disrupted by otherworldly forces. ... Deftly drawn characterizations and wry delivery ... a compelling adventure. — Booklist

An Exaltation of Larks is a splendid macroscopic and microscopic novel, the kind of cosmic idea science fiction we readers lust for but seldom get. — Philip Jose Farmer


The Flavors of My Genius
Copyright © 2006
by Robert Reed
PS Publishing
How to Buy

...ultimately this is a story about stories; the power of the narrative to enlighten and mislead us. Bob crafts a deft plot, indeed, as evidenced by the inspiring ending of this novella. — James Patrick Kelly

Damian Veers enjoys a rich, comfortable existence. His body wants for nothing, while his soul is possessed by an infinite, enduring genius. Using nothing but his own restless mind, Damian spends his long days visiting a multitude of distant worlds, seducing dream-women of every sort; when he wishes, he leaps casually back and forth through his own rich memories, replaying little portions of a gigantic existence that may never end.
This is the fate of every intelligent species. Minds grow to a point where thought is more real than reality, and the simplest daydreams are more compelling than any starship.
Humanity has never been so happy.
Then a strange woman appears: Dot James, physical and plainspoken, suddenly moves into the house next door to Damian's. To all appearances, she is immune to the addictive kinds of genius that every other person embraces. Damian is astonished and intrigued. He studies his new neighbor as she goes about her simple life, and he remembers back to the fateful moment when the stars first spoke to the helpless Earth.
Over the next weeks and months, Damian builds up his courage. He converses with Dot, and he dreams about her, and with his relentless imagination, he tries to explain both her presence here and her mysterious origins. And all the while, he thinks back to his youth and the wife that he loved then and still loves today.
Somehow, Dot and Damian's pasts are linked, and it's only a matter of time until his intellect figures out this amazing puzzle...
But if the mind has no limits, how can you trust what your mind tells you? If imagination is more real than the universe, then what is real?
And more importantly, what is right?" — from the publisher


Marrow
Copyright © 2000
by Robert Reed
Tor Books
How to Buy

It has traversed the deeps of the galaxy for millions of years, designed by unknown, unseen builders in a time before knowing.
Piloted by a near-immortal crew, maintained by the grotesque and rebellious remora, who ride outside the hull, the ship carries millions of passenger — humans and aliens of many races — on a grand tour that will take millennia to complete.
Within its vastness reside secrets so old they defy the imagination of those who run this awesome artifact.
And while their augmented minds have unlocked some of those secrets, they've never plumbed the mystery at the very center of the ship, a secret so dark it's known only as...Marrow. And when they do, they'll uncover an even greater secret, one which could destroy them all and the eternal ship along with them. — from the publisher

Reed's ambitious, detailed premise and thoughtful manipulations of space and time make for an enjoyable reflection on the size and shape of the universe relative to its human inhabitants. — Publisher's Weekly

Reed ... expands his fertile imagination to create a cast of human and alien characters as well as a vividly depicted universe enclosed within a space-going vessel. Fans of science-based sf as well as sf adventure should enjoy this adaptation of an earlier novella. — Library Journal


Mere
Copyright © 2004
by Robert Reed
Golden Gryphon
How to Buy

She was born as the sole passenger onboard a battered starship. Physically and mentally stunted, the immortal woman had no name. For ten thousand years nothing about her life changed. Then the double suns appeared before her and, without warning, her ship crash-landed on an alien world. The Tila found her. They naturally assumed she was a god, but she didn't grow much or show any godly power besides immortality. Because she wasn't much of a god, they named her "Mere." And for the next several thousand years, Mere lived among the Tila, playing a role in the rise of the Tilan civilization, all while serving as the sole witness in their struggle to survive as their great Tilan world began to die.
Mere, a 13,300-word novelette, takes place in Robert Reed's Marrow universe, along with such notable new stories as "River of the Queen" and "Night of Time." The character "Mere" plays a pivotal role in Reed's ... "Marrow" novel, The Well of Stars. The author has also included a 5,000-word Afterword in which he details the history of his "Marrow" universe, including all the stories that comprise this future history. — from the publisher

Harrowing, evocative, and deeply moving, Mere shows Reed to be in top form as one of SF's most startling and original voices. — Locus Online


Sister Alice
Copyright © 2003
by Robert Reed
Tor Books
How to Buy

With his widely acclaimed novel Marrow, Robert Reed joined the ranks of the few elite writers capable of writing great science fiction on an epic scale. In Sister Alice, he has written another novel that will delight and astonish readers with the breadth of its scope and excitement.
Millions of years from now humanity is on the brink of self-destruction. Advances in science and technology have given the people of Earth access to other worlds, but have not bestowed wisdom upon the fractious nations of Earth. The world's great leaders decide that the best solution to what looms as a terminal problem is to create a group of elite who, by their superior wisdom and abilities, will keep the peace, maintain progress, and otherwise safeguard humanity's future. One thousand people are chosen to be founders of great Families. The members of the Families aren't like the rest of humanity. Genetically enhanced and each generation continually improved, they are the carriers of Earth's greatest talents. Lawmakers, scientists, explorers, terraformers, they become a force unlike any in the history of mankind. For ten million years, the Families dominate the galaxy — but then Alice, a brilliant scientist of the Chamberlain family, takes part in an experimental attempt to create a new galaxy. The experiment goes out of control, unleashing vast energies that destroy countless worlds, killing untold billions of people.
Before she is punished for her role in the debacle, Alice, who is millennia old, visits a much younger member of the Chamberlains, Ord, who is just coming into his powers. Only he, of all the people in the galaxy, knows what Alice tells him, but her words launch him into a quest that will take him across the vast reaches of space. He must discover his own true nature, and somehow restore the family honor. This is his epic story. — from the publisher

The members of the Families were cloned from carefully selected individuals and given godlike powers to keep the peace. They have served well enough, and then Alice, one of the oldest Chamberlains, returns with news of a pocket universe in the galactic core that will destroy a vast swathe of the highly populated central galaxy. Ord, the Baby Chamberlain, is charged with finding explanations and possible solutions. In an almost incomprehensible timescale, he fights forces set on toppling the Families for their hubris and travels to the galactic core, picking up attributes Alice left for him along the way. In a perfectly timed, unexpected denouement, Ord flees through a wormhole to tell the elders what will happen when they open the baby universe, followed by his two oldest friends and most implacable enemies. The people of Reed's imaginative future are strange because they live for so long and play such bizarre games with reality, yet they are ultimately recognizable as fellows to mere humans, such as present-day readers. — Booklist

The latest novel by the author of Marrow and The Leeshore tells an epic tale of visionary futures and scientific speculation. — Library Journal

An extravagant, surprising, often astonishing odyssey from the author of Marrow (2000), etc.: challenging and bewildering in equal measure. — Kirkus Reviews


The Well of Stars
Copyright © 2004
by Robert Reed
Orbit
How to Buy

This works at all levels, from the big action sequences and mind-expanding concepts to the quiet, reflective moments. — Publishers Weekly


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