A multinational expedition has landed on the planet Onogoro, a cold and dour world circling one star of a binary pair. Their objective is to investigate a strange alien race, known to the human visitors as the Kybers. These aliens, dwelling in a great network of ruined palaces, are partly biological creatures and partly machines, with the ability to switch themselves off at will. Expedition scientists discover that the Kyber's sun is soon to blaze up in a nova, yet the Kybers are not alarmed.
Ian Watson (1943 - )Ian Watson was born in England in 1943 and graduated from Balliol College, Oxford, with a first class Honours degree in English Literature. He lectured in English in Tanzania (1965-1967) and Tokyo (1967-1970) before beginning to publish SF with "Roof Garden Under Saturn" for the influential New Worlds magazine in 1969. He became a full-time writer in 1976, following the success of his debut novel The Embedding. His work has been frequently shortlisted for the Hugo and Nebula Awards and he has won the BSFA Award twice. From 1990 to 1991 he worked full-time with Stanley Kubrick on story development for the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence, directed after Kubrick's death by Steven Spielberg; for which he is acknowledged in the credits for Screen Story. Ian Watson lives in Spain.