Greg van Eeckhout, Rosemary Edghill, Lawrence Miles, und andere
Jason Cole, Terry Fishman, Gabrielle de Cuir, und andere
Spieldauer: 10 Std. und 26 Min.
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These stories are set in the familiar quasi-medieval worlds to which modern listeners are accustomed, and also stories rooted in the authentic myth-constructs of high antiquity, along with several that depend for their power on the juxtaposition of fantastic situations and terribly contemporary aspects of modern life on Earth. Together these stories make up a collection which provides reassuring proof of fantasy's eternal power in this technological age.
A Cyber War rages throughout the galaxy. The Earth-aligned worlds are fighting for survival against the cold, emotionless might of the Cyber Bloc - an alliance of planets whose inhabitants have undergone cybernetic conversion in the name of racial superiority.
It’s now acknowledged that the Great Houses were largely responsible for creating the current shape of history, not simply by interfering in major events (although they may have dabbled) but by engineering the entire framework of history as a single definite structure. What’s less well-known is just how easy it is to access that structure’s foundations. Before the War, it was usual for Great House installations to be linked to the Houses’ “records library”, buried in the framework beneath normal time.
The demise of Earth was followed by a period in which there was, effectively, no such thing as the human species; a period in which humanity suddenly found itself released from its heritage, with genetic manipulation and vast tracts of space separating the survivors from everything they’d once been.
Era: Human historical (later period). Technology: Military (self-contained), non-time-active. By the end of the fifth millennium AD, the homunculi created by the human species - clones, cross-breeds, fighting-machines and artificial intelligences of all descriptions - outnumbered humanity by more than thirteen to one: But even so, there were no creations like those of Peking. Heading a 1,000-strong army of individually-crafted automata, the 12 commanders were self-aware embodiments of the oriental zodiac, forged to a strict astrological design, and said to incorporate history itself in their operating program.
PRIMEra: Last thirteen million years. Technology: Military (blatant), limited time-awareness. It’s perhaps unwise to think of the Sontarans as a species, as such. A homunculus breed hatched by the million and engineered for full-engagement warfare, the Sontaran military machine is regarded by many time-active cultures as an “occupational hazard”: a force of nature rather than a race, compelled by duty and genetics to acquire new technologies for its endless war effort. It should be remembered, however, that with the backing of a higher power even the crudest of breeds can become something quite different.
Even before the outbreak of the 'War in Heaven', Faction Paradox was regarded as the most unpredictable (and opportunistic) of the time-active powers. Aware of the precarious nature of history - but under no obligation to protect it - while the other Great Houses were still attempting to uphold a “universal order”, the Faction was following its own, far more ambiguous, protocols.
Right from its creation, the secret intelligence service of Great Britain was touched by a streak of ritual: its initiations were usually occult, its codes based on astrological or alchemical ciphers. When Faction Paradox first entered Earth history in the 1700s, the Service took an immediate interest in the new arrivals’ own ritual practices, and in the inevitable feud between British and Faction agents no single figure was as important as Sabbath.