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   Substance of Shadows, The, by John Wells  
 
  Novel, first publication in May 2008
 
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      In the aftermath of the Second American Civil War, civilization collapses throughout the world. A Planetary Government (known as the PLAG) - an elite hegemony of crafty bureaucrats who survived the evil times - reestablishes what the rulers call "civilization." Having gained absolute control over the lives of the powerless masses, the bureaucratic overlords wield that power ruthlessly.

    A young mathematician, Isaac "Crash" Tyson, presents proofs of his Reactive Mathematics Theory to the World Science Council, in the hope of obtaining funding for testing his theory and devising applications. This esoteric theory predicts that a Spatial Exclusion Wave can be generated: a wave that would effectively exclude normal space from within the generated wave field. This wave would, in essence, create a non-spatial dimension within normal space. The applications of this field Crash knows will be of mind-boggling importance.

    P-Quan, the Planetary Governor of Earth, approves the funding but sets the stage for a PLAG takeover of the results of the test. Crash assembles a team, headed by himself, Nessid "Nessi"Laffued, as Director of Computer and Sensory Retrieval, Dr. Lynn Meisheil as Director of Construction and Operations, and Sergeant Major Decker "DP" Payne, Chief of Security. These core staff-members assemble their teams. The tightly knit group of experts builds a spatial exclusion generator and produces a spatial exclusion wave. Placing no trust whatsoever in P-Quan, Lynn, DP and Nessi arrange matters so that the World Science Council (WSG) receives spurious data from the project. The test, which causes a cataclysmic upheaval at the test site, produces results that puzzle Crash. Attacked by PLAG forces, the group mounts a vigorous defense, but Lynn gets captured and delivered to P-Quan.

    Unknown to Crash, and indeed to all of the inhabitants of Earth, P-Quan is not human. A Maen underling who serves the Luin, the oldest and most advanced species within the hierarchy of those who rule the Cren Empire, P-Quan decides to use Lynn as bait to bring Crash out of hiding, and into his presence. Contemptuously regarding Crash as a "Prim" - a member of the primitive species indigenous to Earth - P-Quan fully expects to acquire the new technology and to wield the stupendous power it will confer.

    Having discovered that the SEG did indeed create a spatial exclusion wave, Crash harnesses this awesome new technology to create a fleet of unique ships. Thus begins the epic struggle waged by Crash and his followers against the alien forces arrayed against them. Having begun by rescuing Lynn from P-Quan and Zern, a Luin science officer, Crash and his followers take on the PLAG, the Maen, Zern, and even the Morcor: a species of vicious, hitherto unbeatable, wholly formidable warriors employed by the Maen. Woefully outnumbered, Crash's fleet eventually battles a mighty armada, and escapes annihilation only because Crash's nimble mind conceives of daring new applications of his theory that can be used as offensive weapons.

     
     
      Part of series  
     
     
  • Darklight (#1)

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      Related theme(s)  
     
     
  • Aliens - Extra-terrestrials
  • Distant Worlds

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