A PhilDickian epic of twisted realities and alien invasion set in the dog days of the Soviet Empire.
Russia, 1946, the Nazis recently defeated, Stalin gathers together half a dozen of the top Soviet science fiction authors. Convinced that the defeat of America is only a few years away and equally convinced that the Soviet Union needs a massive external threat to hold it together, he tells the writers to concoct a highly detailed and believable story about aliens poised to invade earth, so that when America is defeated, the whole population of Soviet Russia will believe the story and before long, the world would as well.
But then new orders come from Moscow: they are told to drop the project; Stalin has changed his mind; forget everything about it. So they do. They get on with their lives in their various ways; some of them survive the remainder of Stalin's rule, the changes of the 50s and 60s. And then, in the aftermath of Chernobyl, the survivors gather again, because something strange has started to happen. The story they invented in 1946 is starting to come true...
'Roberts joins my list of essential writers.' - Vector.
'The king of high-concept SF.' - Guardian.