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Authors: Peter F. Hamilton

A Second Chance at Eden

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Peter F. Hamilton was born in Rutland in 1960, and still lives near Rutland Water. He began writing in 1987 and sold his first short story to
Fear
magazine in 1988. He has also been published in
Interzone
and the
In Dreams
and
New Worlds
anthologies, and in several small-press publications. His novels include the Greg Mandel series:
Mindstar Rising
,
A Quantum Murder
and
The Nano Flower
; and the bestselling Night’s Dawn trilogy:
The Reality Dysfunction, The Neutronium Alchemist
and
The Naked God
. Also published by Macmillan (and Pan) is
The Confederation Handbook
, a vital guide to the Night’s Dawn trilogy. His most recent novels are
Misspent Youth
,
Pandora’s Star
,
Judas Unchained
and
The Dreaming Void
.

Also by Peter F. Hamilton

The Greg Mandel series
Mindstar Rising
A Quantum Murder
The Nano Flower

The Night’s Dawn trilogy
The Reality Dysfunction
The Neutronium Alchemist
The Naked God

In the same Timeline
The Confederation Handbook
(a vital guide to the Night’s Dawn trilogy)

Fallen Dragon
Misspent Youth

The Commonwealth Saga
Pandora’s Star
Judas Unchained

The Void trilogy
The Dreaming Void

Peter F. Hamilton
A SECOND CHANCE
AT EDEN

PAN BOOKS

First published 1998 by Macmillan

This edition first published 1999 by Pan Books

This electronic edition published 2008 by Pan Books
an imprint of Pan Macmillan Ltd
Pan Macmillan, 20 New Wharf Rd, London N1 9RR
Basingstoke and Oxford
Associated companies throughout the world
www.panmacmillan.com

ISBN 978-0-330-46895-4 in Adobe Reader format
ISBN 978-0-330-46894-7 in Adobe Digital Editions format

Copyright © Peter F. Hamilton 1998

‘Sonnie’s Edge’ first published in
New Moon
magazine September 1991,
copyright © Peter F. Hamilton 1991

‘Candy Buds’ first published in
New Worlds
#2,1992,
copyright © Peter F. Hamilton 1992

‘Deathday’ first published in
Fear
magazine February 1991,
copyright © Peter F. Hamilton 1991

‘The Lives and Loves of Tiarella Rosa’ appeared in a different form as ‘Spare Capacity’ in
New Worlds
#3 1993,
copyright © Peter F. Hamilton 1993

‘Escape Route’ first published in
Interzone
July 1997,
copyright © Peter F. Hamilton 1997

The right of Peter F. Hamilton to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

You may not copy, store, distribute, transmit, reproduce or otherwise make available this publication (or any part of it) in any form, or by any means (electronic, digital, optical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Visit
www.panmacmillan.com
to read more about all our books and to buy them. You will also find features, author interviews and news of any author events, and you can sign up for e-newsletters so that you’re always first to hear about our new releases.

To David Garnett
because, like many of us, I owe him.

Contents

Sonnie’s Edge

A Second Chance at Eden

New Days Old Times

Candy Buds

Deathday

The Lives and Loves of Tiarella Rosa

Escape Route

Introduction

The stories assembled for this collection are set in the universe of my ‘Night’s Dawn Trilogy’. Now, they form a series of snapshot glimpses into the history of the Confederation leading up to the time of Joshua Calvert and Quinn Dexter. It wasn’t always so.

During the early nineties I wrote several short stories centred around the affinity technology. They didn’t belong to any particular hard and fast version of future history, I was just interested in the potential of the idea. Then along came David Garnett, who had just bought ‘Candy Buds’ for his
New Worlds
anthology, and said: You should turn this into a novel.

Impossible, I told him.

That was back in the days of my foolish youth, before I learnt the hard way that the editor is
always
right.

He convinced me to go away and think about it. ‘Night’s Dawn’ was the result. OK, so I didn’t get the last laugh, but at least I managed to frighten him with the size of volume one,
The Reality Dysfunction
, all 374,000 words of it.

As to the stories themselves, some are new, some have appeared in magazines before, in which case I’ve altered them slightly so they fit into the Confederation timeline.

Peter F. Hamilton
Rutland, February 1998

Timeline

2020
    Cavius base established. Mining of Lunar subcrustal resources starts.

2037
    Beginning of large-scale geneering on humans; improvement to immunology system, organ efficiency increased.

2041
    First deuterium-fuelled fusion stations built; inefficient and expensive.

2044
    Christian reunification.

2047
    First asteroid capture mission. Beginning of Earth’s O’Neill Halo.

2049
    Quasi-sentient bitek animals employed as servitors.

2055
    Jupiter mission.

2055
    Lunar cities granted independence from founding companies.

2057
    Ceres asteroid settlement founded.

2058
    Affinity symbiont neurones developed by Wing-Tsit Chong, providing control over animals and bitek constructs.

2064
    Jovian Sky Power Corporation (JSKP) industrial consortium formed, begins mining Jupiter’s atmosphere for He
3
, using aerostat factories.

2064
    Islamic secular unification.

2067
    Fusion stations begin to use He
3
as fuel.

2069
    Affinity bond gene spliced into human DNA.

 
Sonnie’s Edge
 
Earth 2070
Sonnie’s Edge

It was daylight, so Battersea was in gridlock. The M500 motorway above the Thames had taken us right into the heart of London at a hundred and fifty kilometres an hour, then after we spiralled down an off ramp onto the Chelsea Bridge our top speed braked to a solid 1 k.p.h. Our venue was another three kilometres ahead of us.

We joined the queue of chrome-silver vehicles jamming the street, turning up the reflectivity of our own windscreen against the glare. Bikes slithered through the narrow gaps, their riders in slick-skinned kooler suits. Lighthorns flared and blared in fury as they cut through the two-way tailback, chasing after them like some kind of runway strobe effect. As if that wasn’t bad enough, every vehicle on the road was humming urgently, hub motors and air-conditioning vibrating the air at a frequency guaranteed to induce a migraine. Three hours of that.

I hate cities.

Midday, and we rolled into the derelict yard like an old-fashioned circus caravan come to town. I was driver’s mate to Jacob, sitting up in the ageing twenty-wheeler’s cab, feet up to squash the tideline of McWrappers littering the dash. Curious roadies from the arena were milling about on the fractured concrete, staring up at us. The other two vans in our team’s convoy turned in off the road. A big pair of dilapidated metal gates clanged shut behind us.

Jacob locked the wheels and turned off the power cell. I climbed down out of the cab. The silvered side of the lorry was grimy from the city’s airplaque, but my reflection was clear enough. Blonde bob hairstyle that needs attention; same goes for the clothes, I guess: sleeveless black T-shirt and olive-green Bermuda shorts I’ve had for over a year, feet crammed into fraying white plimsolls. I’m twenty-two, though I’ve got the kind of gaunt figure thirty-year-old women have when they work out and diet hard to make themselves look twenty-two again. My face isn’t too bad; Jacob rebuilt it to give me the prominent cheekbones I’d always wanted as a teenager. Maybe it wasn’t as expressive as it used to be, but the distorting curves of the lorry’s bodywork made it hard to tell.

Outside the cab’s insulation, London’s sounds hit me square on, along with its heat and smell. The three major waste products of eighteen million consumers determined to preserve their lifestyle by spending and burning their way through domestic goodies and energy at a rate only twenty-first century industry can supply. And even that struggles to keep up with demand.

I can plug straight into that beautiful hive of greed; their need for a byte of the action. I know what they want best of all, and we provide it for them.

Excitement, that’s how me and the rest of Sonnie’s Predators suckle our money. And we’ve brought a big unique chunk of it here to Battersea. Tonight, there’s gonna be a fight.

Beastie-baiting: the all-time blood sport; violent, spectacularly gory, and always lethal. It’s new and it’s happening; universes away from the sanitized crap of VR games consumers load into their taksuit processor each night. This is real, it ignites the old instincts, the strongest and most addictive of all. And Sonnie’s Predators are the hottest team to storm ashore in the two years since the contests started. Seventeen straight wins. We’ve got Baiter groupies howling for us all the way from the Orkney Islands down to Cornwall.

I was lucky, signing up at level one, when all the rage was modifying Rottweilers and Dobermanns with fang implants and razor claws. A concept I bet poor old Wing-Tsit Chong never thought of when he invented the affinity bond.

Karran and Jacob were the team’s nucleus, fresh out of Leicester University with their biotechnology degrees all hot and promising. They could have gone to any company in the world with those qualifications, plunged straight into the corporate universe of applied research and annual budget squabbles. It’s an exchange millions of graduates make each year, zest for security, and the big relief of knowing your student loans will be paid off. But that was about the time when the Pope started appeasing the Church’s right wing, and publicly questioned the morality of affinity and the way it was used to control animals. It didn’t take long for the mullahs to join the chorus. The whole biotechnology ethics problem became prime topic for newscable studios; not to mention justification for a dozen animal-rights activists to launch terminal action campaigns against biotechnology labs. Suddenly, establishment biotechnology wasn’t so enticing.

If they didn’t start paying off the student loan within six months of graduation, the bank would just assign them to a company (and take an agency fee from their salary). Baiting was the only financially viable alternative for their talent.

Ivrina was an ex-surgical nurse who had just started helping them with grafting techniques when I arrived. A drifter with little ambition, even less education, but just enough sense to realize this was
different
, something I could immerse myself in, maybe even make a go of. It was new for everybody, we were all beginners and learners. They took me on as a driver and general dogsbody.

Wes joined three months later. A hardware specialist, or nerd, depending on your prejudice. An essential addition to a sport whose sophistication was advancing on a near-daily basis. He maintained the clone vats, computer stacks, and Khanivore’s life-support units, plus a thousand other miscellaneous units.

We were doing all right, Jacob’s Banshees, as we were known back then, battling hard for cult status. A decent win ratio, pushing sixty per cent. Jacob and Karran were still massively in debt, but they were making the monthly interest payments. The purse money was enough to keep us independent while our contemporaries were scrambling for syndicate backing. Poor but proud, the oldest kick in the book. Waiting for the whole sport to earn cable interest and turn big time. It would happen, all the teams knew that.

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