Robert J. Sawyer, as you’ve probably noticed by now, has a way of taking familiar ideas, looking at them from new angles and in greater depth than almost anybody before him, and tying them together to create extraordinarily fresh and thought-provoking stories. The latest example is his novel Rollback, which we’re serializing in four parts beginning in our next issue (October). We’ve all seen lots of stories about rejuvenation and lots of stories about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, but how often have you thought about how the two might be connected? Well, consider these questions: Who could maintain interest in a very long, slow conversation long enough to go anywhere with it? What would be worth talking about under such conditions? If rejuvenation is very, very expensive, as it probably will be at least initially, what would motivate anybody to pay for it? What would it really be likeand what if it doesn’t work the same for everybody? Sawyer’s answers to those, and the many others they stir up, will guarantee you a thoroughly engaging story, and acquaintance with some of the most memorable people you’ll ever meet.
Richard A. Lovett’s fact article examines what we can learn from the devastating Sumatran earthquakes (you may know them better from their side effects, called tsunamis) of 2004-5. He also has a story in the issue, as do such notables as Ben Bova (a new tale of Sam Gunn) and Robert J. Howe (a quietly touching story of a different kind of alien contact, in which the aliens used to be us).
All of which makes for a solidly satisfying issue.