by Scott Mackay
Review by Paul Haggerty
Roc Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451462039
Date: 06 May 2008 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The beginning of the end started with first contact. Not the way anybody had expected it to happen, and certainly not what the scientists studying radical physics on the moon would have wished. A sphere of perfectly reflective material appeared directly over the multidimensional generators and triggered an explosion that destroyed the equipment and nearly crippled the moonbase. But while the experiment may have briefly gotten the aliens attention, they'd already been on their way with a purpose that would spell disaster for humanity on a truly stellar scale.
Dr. Conrad has been working on the Stradivari project for his enitre professional career. While mostly a matter of pure research into hyper-dimensional space, Stradivari apparently attracted more refined than the norm ivy league academics.
The Builders have come to the Sol system on a mission that seems to make no sense to anyone. But while that usually means we haven't been presented with all the facts, in this case it may be not only unknown, but unknowable. The Builders seem to live in the same anti-Ostrander space that Dr. Conrad has been trying to construct, giving our two species differences more universal in nature than simply planetary.
But while we may not exactly understand why they're doing what they do, ringing the moon with alien towers and launching missiles into the sun are seen as obviously hostile in nature. And when the sun begins to swell into a red giant, even the military's normal paranoia seems a bit on the reasonable side. But what can you do against an enemy you can't even touch?
Meanwhile, the aliens have gotten into Dr. Conrad's head and are trying to rewire it for reasons even Dr. Conrad can only guess at. And they've responded to various attempts at communications with lethal results. And no matter what the people of Earth attempt, nothing seems to be able to convince them to stop what they're doing.
And the worst part of it all is that maybe we're not facing an enemy that hates us, or even dislikes us. It's an enemy that doesn't consider us worthy of even noticing. Lethal indifference will leave the Earth a charred ruin the same as active hostility, unless Dr. Conrad can find some way of making the aliens notice the insects they're stepping on.