Coming from DAW Books November 1st 2022
A desperate mission begins, to reconnect with long lost sleeper ships, sent centuries earlier from Earth to settle distant worlds.
A trio of Humans must work with their mysterious alien allies to rescue any descendants they can find on those worlds. Something is out there, determined to claim the cosmos for itself, and only on Earth will Humans be safe.
Or will they?
The challenge isn’t just to communicate with your own kind after generations have passed. It’s to understand what isn’t your kind at all.
And how far will trust take you, when the truth depends on what you are?
“The search for the 21st-century’s Larry Niven is now officially over. Julie E. Czerneda gives us a galaxy-spanning vision of credible aliens and high-stakes conflict. A wonderful book.”Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Hominids
Excerpt from To Each This World
…start a conversation.
Beth Seeker cupped her hands to shade her eyes. Seared brown desert stretched to wavering distant lines that might have been hills, but you didn’t use Human words for things in the Split.
Human words didn’t belong here.
Technically, neither did she. The thought made Beth chuckle as she resumed her task, pulling close another piece of ropy purple vine, careful not to lose any leaves as she wove it around the others she’d selected from her stash.
Wasn’t a vine. Weren’t leaves. Did have little mouths along the rib you didn’t touch if you were fond of your fingers and because it didn’t belong here either?
Well, nothing fooled what divided the world better than putting its halves back together. Good thing, because those weren’t hills in the distance, north and to the south, dividing the land, but huge round pots filled with melted rock pulled from deep below and kept boiling. How was a mystery. Why, not as much. Try to cross using a machine and lightning shot from the nearest magma pots to toast you in place.
Ancestors named the phenomenon a Sweep, maybe to lessen the terror. Name stuck. So did the fear of it.
Walking was allowed, if you did it smart, moving fast and alone, picking time and place to suit. Problem was, without something from Away, you couldn’t stop walking, or make a sound, or drop a thing—
Doublet, they’d called their new home, being old Earth for a pair of words that started the same but came to be different; the meaning suited a planet with its sole land mass split in two. Giving it a name helped some, Beth’s forebears confused not to wake where they’d been aimed to go.
A nip warned Beth to shift her thumb.
The Split wasn’t natural. Was tech, no doubt of it, alien and potent. At the beginning, there’d been relief. If this world was already inhabited, they’d neighbors over there. Maybe help. All they’d need do was reach the aliens and introduce themselves, a heady dream that crashed against the stark reality of the Split, where nothing lived above ground and whatever was beneath?
Wasn’t the talking kind.
Doublet’s oceans treacherous and the next generation with the trick to crossing the Split alive, most times, the halves became Home and Away. Home was good to the settlers. Doublet’s Humans chose surnames for their children and children’s children from where they were born, names like Blueridge and Firstfall, it being important to maximize outcrosses in those first generations. Down through five or so to Beth’s, now it was custom to pick a partner from as unfamiliar a place to you and yours as was, and a particularly free stage of life when one traveled in search, hosted by any.
After that, your name might change, if you’d a thing you were better at than others. Then you were named for it, rest of your days. Beth Redriver, she’d been born and raised; partnered, loved, and raised children of her own to independence.
Having her own, she’d become Beth Seeker, that being the job she did better than others—better than most, truth be—and roamed the Split as few dared, crossing into Away in search of neighbors who didn’t want to be found, if they still existed at all, and to bring back needful things.
She’d have gone for curiosity’s sake, like a kid drawn to what wasn’t known, over what was.
Landed her this job, not that she’d a complaint.
To start a conversation.