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Echoes of Earth
Sean Williams and Shane Dix
Ace Books, 432 pages

Sean Williams
Sean Williams was born in Whyalla, South Australia, in 1967. He has been writing full-time since 1990. His short fiction has appeared in magazines such as Aboriginal SF and Eidolon as well as anthologies such as Alien Shores, Intimate Armageddons, The Oxford Book of Australian Ghost Stories, The Year's Best Australian SF & Fantasy 1996, Terror Australis and the World Fantasy Award-winning Dreaming Down-Under. His story, "Evermore," was selected to appear in The Year's Best Science Fiction: 17th Annual Collection. Metal Fatigue is the winner of the 1996 Aurealis award for best science fiction novel. New Adventures in Sci-Fi won the Ditmar award for best collection in 1999. In his spare time, he likes to DJ and cook curries.

Sean Williams Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Interview: Sean Williams and Shane Dix
SF Site Review: The Stone Mage and the Sea
SF Site Review: The Prodigal Sun
SF Site Review: Metal Fatigue
SF Site Review: A View Before Dying

Shane Dix
Shane Dix says there have been 4 defining moments in his writing career:
"At 12, I read Heinlein's short story, 'By His Bootstraps,' and immediately became obsessed with tales of time travel and thus science fiction; at 15, I was encouraged to write short stories by my English school teacher; at 21, I read Delany's Dhalgren and realized that this was the type of fiction writing I wanted to aspire to; and at 30, I met Sean Williams...

"At 40, I no longer focus solely upon science fiction as I did through my teen years. I still write, though have recognized the need to concentrate on novel writing now as opposed to short stories. I still dream of one day penning a Delany-esque type book, but as the years tick by this seems increasingly unlikely to ever eventuate. And, despite the beard, long hair and considerably different writing styles, I am still, on occasion, mistaken for Sean...

"For the not too distant future I have a number of writing projects lined up, including a science fiction novel, a horror novel and a mainstream novel, as well as a children's book and a recipe book. But if none of these projects get to see the light of day, it doesn't matter. I will continue to write regardless, because, to quote Delany, I have an 'exhausting habit of trying to take up the slack in my life with words.'"

ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

Echoes of Earth A new shipment of one of Australia's hottest imports just arrived, but you, you lucky things, don't have to wait at the docks or search out a trendy Oz boutique; you can pop right into your local bookstore to pick up a copy of Echoes of Earth. That's right, the duo of authors that brought you the bestselling Evergence Trilogy are back with another far-space adventure to make your head spin.

The good people at Ace forgot to add this warning, so let me insert it here: For your own safety, strap yourself in with every seat belt at your disposal. You're headed on a trip through space and time that could easily leave you far behind if you aren't ready.

Peter Alander is a long way from home -- well, the part of him that didn't remain at home on Earth, that is. He and the rest of his crewmates are engrams, computer recreations of their corporeal selves, minus the corporeal part, of course. Copies of Alander and others went out long ago to explore the universe.

Now, they have found something that Earth must know about right away. The question is: should Earth really hear about this discovery? And come to think of it, did the crew find something or didn't it actually find them?

As always, the science in Dix and Williams' work shines, entrancing with its glitter and innovation. There is enough hard science here to keep the most demanding reader entertained from beginning to end. The faster-than-light ship alone is sufficient fodder to provide a plot device for lesser authors, but anyone who has read their fiction before knows that mere machinery is not nearly enough for this duo; you won't find any of their novels without fully-fleshed out characters, complex plots, vivid settings, and thoughtful exploration of issues.

The most striking aspect of Echoes of Earth is hinted at in the title. How breathtaking to find that the "humans" Alander encounters on his home planet a century after his departure are in a very real way more alien to him than the beings he encounters completely across the universe. Williams and Dix have succeeded not only at that most difficult task of making aliens genuinely alien, but have accomplished this with our own species. Readers will recognize little of themselves and those around them in these "evolved" beings.

Peter Alander -- poor, flawed human, or as close to it as he will ever come again -- is our pilot on this breakneck dash through the unimaginable distances and unfathomable motivations inherent in the journey. As he races faster than light, he may be bringing humanity the greatest gift of all time -- but sometimes the shiniest presents come with the highest price tags.

Hold your breath and hold on tight. This is going to be a ride such as you've never seen before.

Copyright © 2002 Lisa DuMond

In between reviews, articles, and interviews, Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. DARKERS, her latest novel, was published in August 2000 by Hard Shell Word Factory. She has also written for BOOKPAGE and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. Her articles and short stories are all over the map. You can check out Lisa and her work at her website hikeeba!.

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