Gravity Dreams

Gravity Dreams

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Gravity Dreams is a 2000 science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 novel by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
L. E. Modesitt, Jr. is an author of 56 science fiction and fantasy novels. He is best known for the fantasy series The Saga of Recluce....


Set in the distant future of the year 4512, wherein humans have achieved spaceflight
Spaceflight is the act of travelling into or through outer space. Spaceflight can occur with spacecraft which may, or may not, have humans on board. Examples of human spaceflight include the Russian Soyuz program, the U.S. Space shuttle program, as well as the ongoing International Space Station...

 faster than the speed of light, along with nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometres...

, Gravity Dreams centers itself around its main character, Tyndel. He was raised in Dorcha, whose culture uses the philosophy of Dzin as a means of social control
Social control
Social control refers generally to societal and political mechanisms or processes that regulate individual and group behavior, leading to conformity and compliance to the rules of a given society, state, or social group. Many mechanisms of social control are cross-cultural, if only in the control...

. Dzin preaches that what you see is, and not to ask questions that a scientist normally would—a rock is therefore it exists, the clouds are therefore they exist.

Tyndel is a master of Dzin. One day he is attacked and infected with nanites
Nanorobotics is the emerging technology field of creating machines or robots whose components are at or close to the scale of a nanometer . More specifically, nanorobotics refers to the nanotechnology engineering discipline of designing and building nanorobots, with devices ranging in size from...

. This brands him as a 'Demon' because Dorcha has rejected technology, seeing it as the cause of a major ecological collapse centuries before.

After escaping the prison that he is placed in, Tyndel returns to his wife, and sees her killed by the people who he thought were meant to protect her. After effecting his revenge by killing the man who infected him with the nanites, Tyndel flees north to the "Demon Nation" of Rykasha, which still retains high technology and uses nanites.

He is taken to a medical facility after experiencing weird lights across his vision. Here he is told that he was infected with a very ancient strain of nanites that would have killed him. They are replaced with more balanced nanites adjusted to his system. He is introduced to his handler Cerrelle who explains to him that it is her duty to help him adjust to their society and become a productive citizen so that he can repay the debt he now owes for their help.

Tyndel, however, is riddled with guilt over his wife's death and sees many of her attributes in Cerrelle. He also believes the system should care for him, even though he knows that on a social level that is not possible. He rejects and pushes everything being offered to him away, even as he slowly learns more about the world that he has found himself in—one that clashes with the views that have been sowed into him by his training. At the same time Cerrelle forces him to question how Dzin is used to prevent development, and why its teachings oppose nanite technology.

Tyndel is meant to start training as a web jockey—one of those who are able to pilot ships through the "web" which allows faster-than-light travel. He rejects this position, much like a spoiled child, and is instead shipped off to Omega Eridiani, where he spends three years as a low level tech. This places him extremely low in the social ladder of Rykasha. Cerrelle attempts to entice him back and the two have a small fight over what he truly wants. He also gets involved with a fellow tech and after she dies in an accident, Tyndel begins to question much of what he has been doing. He requests to go back to web-jockey training and is accepted.

Tyndel undergoes extreme physical training to condition his body to peak levels. He also repairs the relationship with Cerrelle. At this time he again begins to see the distorted vision that he saw when first infected.

Eventually he is further enhanced by nanites, so that he may link with the Web Needles, the name given to the faster than light capable ships that the "Demons" use. After a further year of training in space he is made a web jockey. Tyndel hears a voice asking him questions while he is in the web, one that points out some answers to his questions. It is an entity called Engee, which tells him that it requires his consciousness to act as an observation platform for it in a reverse-energy universe. Tyndel accepts and is sent through, learning that Engee is a group of nanites created by the 'Ancients' of Earth before the devastation, and that Engee is attempting to prevent the universe from completing its purpose by replacing the amount of information lost by the expansion of the universe with matter from another universe.

After doing as asked, Tyndel returns to Earth and explains what has happened. The Demons act as though it is the end of their society, however Tyndel states that they should just trade with the station of 'followers' because they have some technology that the Demons do not, such as gravity control. He returns to Cerrelle and explains that he and his children will no longer require the nanite treatments as Engee has made them part of his genetics.

The Book ends with Tyndel returning to Dorcha to reflect on the past before returning once more to what he now knows as his home in the north.