Greg Bear is a master of the high concept SF novel. Although he won the first of many awards with the eerily transcendental novella ‘Blood Music’ and recent years have seen him segue into near-future thrillers and claustrophobic space adventure, he bestrode the second half of the 80’s as the colossus of hard science fiction.
Books like The Forge of God, which took the destruction of the Earth as its starting point and went wide screen from there, were devoured by readers and, I’m sure, would have been even more appreciated had we known then what we know now: namely that the time of the massive planetary threat novel was nearing its end. While my personal favourites from Bear’s canon are the aforementioned The Forge of God and extraordinary sequel Anvil of Stars, the novel that seemed to capture the Zeitgeist in a way not seen since Rendezvous With Rama was Eon and it’s follow-ups Eternity and Legacy.
Above our planet hangs a hollow Stone, vast as the imagination of Man. The inner dimensions are at odds with the outer: there are different chambers to be breached, some even containing deserted cities. The furthest chamber contains the greatest mystery ever to confront the Stone’s scientists. But tombstone or milestone, the Stone is not an alien structure: it comes from the future of our humanity. And the war that breaks out on Earth seems to bear witness to the Stone’s prowess as oracle . . .
Eon is our Masterwork of the Week and a wide-screen reminder of the days when SF routinely dabbled in Sense of Wonder and the End of the World. It is available as an SF Masterworks paperback and an SF Gateway eBook.