Gunn’s sequel to Transcendental is very much a mid-series book that dutifully advances the plot arc launched by its predecessor and sets the stage for future installments. It brings back ex-soldier Riley, who, having realized his full human potential by passing through an alien race’s transcendental machine, now pilots a spaceship to the far reaches of the galaxy to investigate whether planets that have stopped communicating with the Galactic Federation have been invaded. This setup allows Gunn to revel in the mode of space opera that he has perfected in his seven decades as a writer, introducing his characters to a variety of colorfully rendered alien civilizations (a winged race, a bird-riding matriarchy, and so on), all of which, for reasons unknown, have mysteriously degenerated. The novel ends with several subplots unresolved and questions posed at the outset still unanswered. It’s strictly for fans who hope to go the distance with Gunn’s evolving SF saga. (July)
Third in the Transcendental Machine trilogy...
Riley and Asha must save the Federation from an unknown invader.
Planets at the edge of the Federation have fallen silent. The arrogant Federation bureaucracy grudgingly send Riley and Asha to investigate. They join forces with a planetary A.I., a paranoid Federation watchdog, and a member of a splinter group who vows to destroy the A.I. No one trusts anyone or their motives.
They need to find common ground and the answer in order to confront an enemy even more ancient and powerful than the Transcendentals.
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