Tor, Jul 2001, 24.95, 348 pp.
A couple of centuries into the future, the Fallers are defeating the Earthlings in an interstellar war. Time seems to be running out for the Terrans as nothing works against their unbeatable foes.
Desperate, the Terrans return to World, a place whose sentient inhabitants Worlders kicked humans off planet due to different “realities” (see PROBABILITY MOON). The human crew consists of scientists and military, but the two groups have different agendas when it comes to the artifact they plan to study on World. The soldiers plan to use the machine without testing it in a last chance effort to defeat the seemingly infallible Fallers. However, the scientists worry that activating this gizmo from a long defunct advanced race could lead to a universal doomsday. Even before they can study the machine, the Earthlings must find a means of obtaining the help of the empathic Worlders who probably will boot the Terrans off planet again.
PROBABILITY SUN is the usual great science fiction novel expected by genre fans of Nancy Kress. The story line is fast-paced, loaded with action, and contains strong characterizations including the alien races. World seems like a real world and the future remains bleak for humanity, but not quite as dark as PROBABILITY MOON that is if the Worlders cooperate, and the artifact can be activated and controlled. Ms. Kress continues to provide some of the best the genre has to offer when the emphasis is on the science as much if not more so as the fiction.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner