A monumental epic tale of space exploration and alien contact from one of science fiction’s greatest writers
In the future, humankind has taken only limited advantage of a miraculous gift left for it in the far-distant past. A beneficent and inscrutable alien race called the Others has provided “gates” that enable passage to all corners of the galaxy. But after the colonization of a single star system, a repressive government on Earth has forbidden all further explorations, seizing the returning starship Emissary and taking its crew captive along with an alien passenger the vessel encountered on its voyage.
A wealthy entrepreneur and off-world rebel incensed by the prevailing antiexpansionist politics, Daniel Brodersen decides to take matters into his own hands. Commandeering one of his company’s spaceships, he travels to Earth to pull off a daring rescue of the prisoners and the extraterrestrial Betan visitor, then rockets off with them to points unknown. But before long, a lack of proper preparation has left Brodersen, his crew, and his lover, the remarkable Caitlín Mulryan, irretrievably lost in the vastness of uncharted space—and their only hope of finding their way back home again will be in doing the seemingly impossible: making contact with humanity’s elusive ancient benefactors, the Others.
“An ambitious, often poetic interstellar epic . . . The Avatar is about humanity’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge, for breaking boundaries, for understanding and knowing, and it’s about the wonder that accompanies that process.” —SFReviews.net
“One of science fiction’s most influential and prolific writers . . . Anderson’s appetite for colossal themes was remarkable, even by the grandiloquent standards of his trade.” —The Daily Telegraph
“Anderson has produced more milestones in contemporary science fiction and fantasy than any one man is entitled to.” —Stephen R. Donaldson
Poul Anderson (1926–2001) grew up bilingual in a Danish American family. After discovering science fiction fandom and earning a physics degree at the University of Minnesota, he found writing science fiction more satisfactory. Admired for his “hard” science fiction, mysteries, historical novels, and “fantasy with rivets,” he also excelled in humor. He was the guest of honor at the 1959 World Science Fiction Convention and at many similar events, including the 1998 Contact Japan 3 and the 1999 Strannik Conference in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Besides winning the Hugo and Nebula Awards, he has received the Gandalf, Seiun, and Strannik, or “Wanderer,” Awards. A founder of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, he became a Grand Master, and was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
In 1952 he met Karen Kruse; they married in Berkeley, California, where their daughter, Astrid, was born, and they later lived in Orinda, California. Astrid and her husband, science fiction author Greg Bear, now live with their family outside Seattle.