Del Rey Spectra 50 Page Fridays: Elizabeth Bear


Every Friday, we here @ Del Rey Spectra will place a 50 page excerpt of a selected title on Unbound Worlds. Whether it be science fiction, epic fantasy, alternate history, horror, urban fantasy, paranormal, the possibilities are endless.

It’s always a special time when one of our authors gets nominated for an award. As everyone knows, writing is hard work and there’s truly no way around that fact. When the Del Rey Spectra crew found out that Elizabeth Bear had been nominated for the 2010 Philip K Dick award for Chill, we were thrilled! Since Chill is the second book in Elizabrth’s Jacob Ladder series (and Grail, the third and final book will be released later this month), we felt it made sense to offer an introductory excerpt of the series, thus featuring Dust this week. We think you’ll be hooked. Here’s what renowned Del Rey Spectra Anne Groell had to say about Dust, book one of the Jacob’s Ladder trilogy:

Elizabeth Bear’s sweeping space opera, the Jacob’s Ladder trilogy—beginning with Dust—was first pitched to me as Upstairs, Downstairs meets Gormenghast in space, with a big dose of Roger Zelazny’s Amber.  And I suppose the fact that I responded so enthusiastically to that idea rather dates me a bit, but I guess you never can fully escape the things that helped to make up your mental landscape.  Hopefully, some of you are now jumping up and down as excitedly as I was at that idea.  But if not…

Well, as usual, Bear has gone multiple steps beyond these influences to create something that is wonderfully unique, and uniquely her own.  Gorgeously written, and filled with eye-popping science fictional delights, Dust is a genuine treat for the senses set in a strangely organic post-human future which is nonetheless dipping its toes into the ancient world of myth and legend.  It is also a book that was nominated for both the Philip K. Dick Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best Science Fiction—which, to me, says everything about Bear’s ability to balance realistic science with a profoundly human story.

But if you don’t believe me, here is what Booklist said of the book in a starred review:  “Bear takes on the well-worn SF device of the generation ship and, seasoning with Roger Zelazny-esque family politics and Mervyn Peake-ish behind-the-scenes intrigue, concocts a delicious blend of science so advanced it’s like magic and people, the ship’s royalty, who are somehow altered by the nanotech colonies that make them Exalt but remain neurotic and struggling like ordinary humans…Bear’s approach to the story results in exactly the kind of brilliantly detailed, tightly plotted, roller-coaster book she has led her readers to expect, replete with a fantastic cast of characters. When Bear revamps the genre’s standard furniture, the results are extraordinary.”

Chill, the second book in the series, has just been nominated for another Philip K. Dick Award, so now is your chance to get in on the ground floor of this remarkable series if you have not already experienced it! And if you fall in love as hard as I did, you won’t have to wait long for the conclusion.  Grail, the final novel in the series, comes out on 2/22!

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Please enjoy this extensive excerpt of Dust, available in paperback and ebook now. The series continues with the 2010 Philip K Dick award nominated Chill (also available in paperback and ebook now) and concludes with Grail, due out on February 22nd.

DUST by Elizabeth Bear, Excerpt