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Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer
Review by Ernest Lilley
Tor Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 0765311089
Date: 03 April, 2007 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: April 2007 Robert J. Sawyer Interview (SFRevu) / Show Article /

Rob Sawyer offers an interesting insight into the realities of cosmic communication and life extension in his new book Rollover. If a race is technologically advanced enough to be able to send, receive, and translate communications from races light years distant, isn't it reasonable that they might be expected to have achieved sufficient life extension technology so that the original sender is around long enough to actually hold a conversation? It's a good idea, but for Sarah Halifax, who decoded the first alien transmissions almost forty years ago, it's an idea ahead of her time. The aliens don't know that though, and she has to race against time and aging to crack their reply transmission. Rob has put together a fascinating human drama, where joy and tragedy take human form, rather than apocalyptic ones. All in all, it's a "skytop" story, worth reading by genre and mainstream readers alike.

From official release/information:

Book Description: Dr. Sarah Halifax decoded the first-ever radio transmission received from aliens. Thirty-eight years later, a second message is received and Sarah, now eighty-seven, may hold the key to deciphering this one, too if she lives long enough. A wealthy industrialist offers to pay for Sarah to have a rollback a hugely expensive experimental rejuvenation procedure. She accepts on condition that Don, her husband of sixty years, gets a rollback, too. The process works for Don, making him physically twenty-five again. But in a tragic twist, the rollback fails for Sarah, leaving her in her eighties as the second message arrives. While Don tries to deal with his newfound youth and the suddenly vast age gap between him and his wife, Sarah struggles to do again what she'd done once before: figure out what a signal from the stars contains.

(Source: Tor Books)

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