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 was born in 1943. He lectured in Tanzania and Tokyo and taught Future Studies at Birmingham Polytechnic. He began publishing SF with 'Roof Garden Under Saturn' for New Worlds in 1969 but it was with the publication of The Embedding in 1973 that he really established himself as a writer of rare power and vision. Michael Bishop was born in 1945 and studied English at the University of George. His other acclaimed novels include A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire, Transfigurations, Stolen Faces and Ancient of Days.