HEART OF THE COMET description and bonus information
ANNOUNCING THE RETURN OF A CLASSIC
"He had always been a problem-solver, a man who reflexively reacted to the unknown by breaking it into understandable pieces. Then Carl would carefully solve each small puzzle, confident that the sum of such microproblems would finally resolve the larger confusions." -- Heart of the Comet
After many years out of print, co-authors Gregory Benford and David Brin have revised and re-issued their bold novel about our near-future in space, when we plant our boots -- and stake our destiny -- on becoming the people of the comet.
It is 2065, and a regular visitor makes its long-awaited dive toward the sun in a 75 year cycle. Only this time, Halley's Comet is met by an ambitious expedition, using the great fuming ball of gas, dust and ice as a natural spaceship to "hitch a ride" through the solar system. The scientific and commercial enterprise aims to herd the valuable object into a close orbit to Earth, for disassembly into resources to make the world rich again.
Only, nature and luck intervene. Soon a mysterious virus decimates the crew. Other life-forms, from a genetic heritage separated from ours by a billion years, begin a rough, sometimes deadly "negotiation" with the bodies of the human settlers, stoking stress between their already volatile factions. Conflicts explode as panicky orthos -- unmodified humans -- blame those expedition members who are genetically enhanced "Percells." Against this background, the novel highlights a love triangle between ortho biologist Saul, who helped create the Percells, and Percell computer engineer Virginia (whose biologically-based computer just might possess genuine artificial intelligence)... and crewman Carl, whose steadfast courage might hold the key to survival.
And... perhaps... something far more than mere survival.
Prescient and scientifically-accurate, Heart of the Comet was known as one of the great "hard sf" novels of the 1980s. The novel, published in 1986, coincided with the last return visit of Comet Halley to Earth. Heart of the Comet tells the story of an ambitious manned mission to visit the comet and alter its orbit in order to mine it for resources. The discoveries soon include a deadly viral lifeform that decimates the crew.
WATCH A VIVID TRAILER FOR THIS NEXT GREAT ADVENTURE
Exclusive to this site: Read sample chapters from Heart of the Comet.
The trade paperback or ebook version of this new edition can be purchased using the links on this page.
INTERVIEW VIDEO OF BENFORD & BRIN
Science fiction authors David Brin and Gregory Benford discuss their collaboration on Heart of the Comet. This clip includes some humorous moments between the two authors, both physicists -- as when Gregory discusses why he wrote the sex scenes and David wrote the technical ones.
"A literary conjunction of two of the brightest stars in the science-fiction firmament. In Heart of the Comet, we have it all, the techno-props and accurate physics and biology of John W. Campbell, the heroic battles with outrageous monsters of Robert E. Howard, the insights into seething human perversity of J.G. Ballard and Thomas M. Disch, the characterizational depth of Theodore Sturgeon, all of it wrapped in a scientifically plausible and entertaining package that should not be missed. Heart of the Comet should be on everyone's award ballot." -- Los Angeles Times
"A magnificent effort . . . their story gets better, and better, and better." -- Locus
"Tremendously imaginative . . . a breathtaking effort from two of science fiction's brightest stars." -- The San Diego Union
COVERS FROM OUTSIDE THE U.S.
Here are a collection of covers for Heart of the Comet from its foreign and foreign-language publications.
And here is the cover of the Japanese edition of Heart of the Comet.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Carl Osborn - spacer, percell
Virginia Kaninamanu Herbert - computer programmer, percell
Saul Lintz - doctor and geneticist, ortho
Halley's Comet itself
Miguel Cruz-Mendoza - Captain of the Edmund Halley, ortho
Otis Sergeov - Spacer Second Class, percell
Joao Quiverian - astronomer, ortho
Lt. Col. Suleiman Ould-Harrad - spacer, ortho
Lani Nguyen - spacer, ortho
Jeffers - spacer, percell
Akio Matsudo - doctor
Bethany Oakes - doctor
Nickolas Malenkov - doctor
Marguerite van/von Zoon - doctor
Jim Vidor - spacer
Ingersoll - percell
Linbarger - doctor, ortho
Keoki Anuenue - med-tech, ortho
Simon Percell - geneticist
JonVon - quasi-sentient computer personality