The Highest Frontier

The Highest Frontier

Joan Slonczewski

Language: English

Pages: 448

ISBN: 0765329565

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


One of the most respected writers of hard SF, it has been more than ten years since Joan Slonczewski's last novel. Now she returns with a spectacular tour de force of the college of the future, in orbit. Jennifer Ramos Kennedy, a girl from a rich and politically influential family (a distant relation descended from the famous Kennedy clan), whose twin brother has died in an accident and left her bereft, is about to enter her freshman year at Frontera College.

Frontera is an exciting school built with media money, and a bit from tribal casinos too, dedicated to educating the best and brightest of this future world. We accompany Jenny as she proceeds through her early days at school, encountering surprises and wonders and some unpleasant problems. The Earth is altered by global warming, and an invasive alien species called ultraphytes threatens the surviving ecosystem. Jenny is being raised for great things, but while she's in school she just wants to do her homework, go on a few dates, and get by. The world that Jenny is living in is one of the most fascinating and creative in contemporary SF, and the problems Jenny faces will involve every reader, young and old.

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thinking,” Charlie said. “I’d like to train for the squad.” “¡Excelente! Check in with Doc Uddin. The training course is intense.” She well recalled her course in high school. “I know, but it’s good for premed.” “You can come out on my calls any time.” What would they all think if they knew what she did about the Creep? If it were true. But what exactly had become of him? After dinner Anouk sidled over. “Remember, chérie, you will accompany me to the Monte Carlo Night.” Jenny shook her

about twenty amino-acid building blocks. “You all care to know this, or else you would have left by now. Figure out for yourself how each building block works; ask, and it will tell you. And if not, ask the class.” Jenny looked at Tom. Then together, they looked at the protein, with its blue and red atoms, and gold for occasional sulfur. She touched one sulfur atom. “I am methionine,” said the amino acid. “I always start the protein. What kind of atoms do I have?” The proteins talked, and the

instruments, the two-stringed erhu, the guqin zither, the pipa lute. The lute door opened virtual seating for a concert in Hubei, seven performers in pink robes with bright-colored sashes. Then eight doors to concert programs in eight different countries: the Vienna Symphony, the Sydney Opera, the São Paulo Symphony. No sign of her mental; hopefully the virtual team of therapists would lag a few doors behind. The São Paulo Symphony had an oboist from New York. The New York oboist had once

nose rings. It was Rafael. “Jenny, how are your classes? I hope you got the professors you desired.” “Yes, thanks. The Roosevelt class is chulo.” “Excellent. May I have the pleasure of your company for dinner? Please join us this evening at the Ferrari club.” She could get her homework done after dinner. “May Anouk Chouiref come too?” Rafael made a slight bow. “Absolutely. I’ll drive by for you both at six.” Anouk smiled. “Thanks, chérie. The Ferraris, they have at least some manners. I hear

the truth,” Anouk insisted. “That’s why I couldn’t join my brother at Oxford,” she added bitterly. “The gendarme told my parents I could go to the pen, or leave Euro, one or the other. So they sent me off-world.” She lifted her chin. “How would you feel, to be banned from your own planet?” Jenny looked away. Drunks, ghosts, mosquitoes, and hackers. How was she to get any work done? “Not that it matters, I can hack the Pentagon from here. But I didn’t harm you. Just got to know you, that’s all.

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