From science fiction legend Alan Dean Foster comes a thrilling new Pip and Flinx adventure, wherein a certain red-haired, green-eyed young man blessed (or cursed) with strange powers finds himself and his mini-dragon sidekick on a top-secret mission concerning deep space, alien worlds . . . and a primordial horror intent on devouring all of it. In the outer depths of the universe lies the Great Emptiness, where something dreadful lurks, hidden behind a great gravitational lens of dark matter. Something horrific that howls and writhes and rages across three hundred million light-years of space-and is now heading straight for the Commonwealth and moving faster all the time. One slim chance exists to avert catastrophe, and only Flinx can take it. Roaming the galaxy is a conscious planet-size weapons system, the legacy of a long-extinct race. As Flinx is the only one who has ever experienced mental contact with the machine, it is his job to find the powerful alien artifact and coax it into joining the battle against the behemoth from beyond.
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October 25, 2005
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Excerpt from Running from the Deity by Alan Dean Foster
At first thought, you'd think it would be easy to find a missing planet. Even a methane dwarf. Except that the missing tenth world of the outlying Imperial AAnn system of Pyrassis was not a world, but an immense automated weapons platform of the long-extinct race who called themselves the Tar-Aiym.
Actually, Flinx mused as he held out his arms and let the magnetically charged droplets of water swirl around him and scrub his lanky naked form, one would think it would be even simpler to find a planet-sized weapons platform than a small planet itself. The only problem was that in the absence of standing orders to guide its revived behavior, the monstrous ancient device had gone looking for some. Since to the best of current knowledge the last of those beings who might be capable of issuing such directives had died half a million years earlier, more or less, the prospects of said intelligent weapons platform stumbling across relevant instructions on how it ought to proceed were slight indeed. Flinx suspected that it would do no good, should he somehow actually succeed in tracking down his galactically perambulating quarry, to point out that the species it was built to fight, the Hur'rikku, were as dead and gone as the massive machine's original Tar-Aiym builders.
Find it first, he told himself as he did a slow turn beneath the recycled spray from the shower. Semantics follow function.
He did not need to pivot for purposes of cleanliness since the water beads automatically enveloped him in their attentive aqueous embrace. They avoided only the special shower mask that shielded his mouth and nose. Without such a mask, someone making use of such a shower conceivably could drown ' though it was an easy enough matter simply to step sideways and clear of the open-sided, freestanding facility.
"Are you finished yet " The voice of the Teacher's ship-mind reached him through the stimulating vertical bath.
"Almost. Why Are you going to suggest that after I finish bathing I take another 'vacation' "
"It is interesting how sardonicism tends to shed efficacy over time," the ship-mind replied tartly. Having suggested that Flinx spend a while resting and recuperating on the out-of-the-way world of Jast, only to see him nearly murdered by one of the expatriate AAnn officials residing on that world, the AI was understandably disinclined to discuss the subject. Knowing this, Flinx lost few opportunities to bring it up.
"I take your point, by which I assume that you're not going to make such a suggestion. Good."