Books, (1997) 2nd printing paperback, 338p., ISBN: 0-380-71027-7; List
Now available at better bookstores everywhere.
[Available online from Amazon.com (20% discount)
A reader-submitted review of Twistor is also available at the Amazon site.]
[Available online from Barnes and Noble (20% discount)]
[Available online from The University Bookstore (free shipping)]
Books, (1991) paperback, 352p., ISBN: 0-380-71027-7 (Out of print.)
Morrow & Co., Inc., (1989) hardcover 1st edition, 416p., ISBN:
0-87795-967-6; Original list price $18.95.
The hardcover edition of Twistor is out of print and has become a collector's item. It may be possible to order it from a dealer in collectible science
fiction. Try Lloyd W. Currey, for example.
Here's the first chapter of Twistor, as provided by Avon.
Twistor was my
first novel. Writing it resulted in a nomination for the Compton Crook
Award (Best 1st Novel, 1990) and in two nominations (1990 and 1991) for
the John W. Campbell Award (Best New Writer). It was also on the semi-final
ballot for the 1991 Nebula Awards.
Twistor was written to
fill a need I perceived in the SF market for good "hard SF" written
by scientists about the business of doing science. It was edited by David
G. Hartwell and published in hardcover by Morrow
in 1989. It was also available in hardcover from the Science
Fiction Book Club. It was published in paperback in 1991 by AvoNova
(Avon) in the USA and by NEL (New English Library) in the UK. A Japanese
Edition (Hyakawa - 1996) has just been published under the title The
Shadow of Gravity.. In the USA Twistor has just (5/97) been
reprinted by Avon in a new and slightly revised eddition, along with my
new hard SF novel Einstein's
July 10, 1996
||This is the Twistor book jacket from the original Morrow hardcover
The cover painting was done by Bob
Click on the icon for a larger (25k) image.
||This is the new Twistor book cover used on the Avon paperback
Click on the icon for a larger (25k) image.
This is the blurb about Twistor from the jacket of the Morrow
Science fiction at its best is
about how much fun it is to do real science, to experience the excitement
of scientific ideas, and to use them to build wonderful new devices that
do new things, that transform our lives. This kind of science fiction is
called "hard SF" by the fans, the hard stuff that is the finest
pleasure of the connoisseur. Twistor is hard SF.
Twistor is a first novel
by John Cramer, who is known to SF readership for his "Alternate View"
columns in Analog magazine. He brings the knowledge of the grit
and detail of the everyday life of the working scientist to the story of
David Harrison, the young physicist who discovers the twistor effect, an
astounding breakthrough in experimental physics that puts alternate physical
universes within reach of human exploration.
The plot thickens when some hired
thugs are sent by a corporate espionage agent to steal David's experimental
device. As David is about to send the whole shebang, including a big chunk
of his lab, into another universe and out of reach of the thieves, he finds
the two young children of one of his colleagues have hidden in his lab
to surprise him. In a split second, David decides, and he and the children
pass together through the twistor field into another world, leaving the
bewildered thugs behind.
Stranded on another Earth not
quite like ours, David must use his basic knowledge to become a Robinson
Crusoe in this new place, to save himself and the children, and to find
a way back home.
The forefront of science fiction
is the scientific speculation found in hard SF. Twistor is based
on real physics, provicative and even startling. Such writers as Larry
Niven, David Brin, Gregory Benford, and James P. Hogan have made their
reputations writing this kind of fiction. Add Cramer's name to that list.
Twistor is essential SF.
John Cramer lives in Seattle,
Washington, where he is professor of physics at the University of Washington.
He plans a sequel to Twistor.
Here's what well-known SF authors and reviewers said about Twistor
when it was first published in hardcover:
"Finally, the most exciting novel about the cutting edge of physics
since Timescape. Twistor takes you into the lab and through
the world of far-out theory, all in a swooping story of adventure."
"A fine hard-science fiction thriller, very enjoyable. Twistor
is an auspicious debut for Dr. John Cramer."
"... interesting and dramatic kernel of physics speculation ..."
Publisher's Weekly (2/3/89)
"Twistor is a rare blend of high imagination and fun by
a writer who understands how research really works, both on the scientific
and the human levels. It made me feel as if I were back in the lab myself
and glad to be there."
"...often scintillating hard science... A promising debut: good
on science and scientists ..."
Kirkus Review (2/89)
"John Cramer's Twistor is a wonderful romp through the
several universes of real science, from the thin abstraction of particle
theory to the grubby, greasy, problem-plagued experimental laboratory,
and on to the intricacies of departmental politics and the pitfalls of
institutional funding. Before Cramer has finished telling his ingenious
tale, Twistor has taken us right out of this world into a plausible
universe next door. The ideas are as startlingly original as anything in
the work of Robert Forward or James P. Hogan, with the added attraction
of likeable flesh and blood characters and an order of magnitude better
"Twistor tells an exciting story that employs concepts
even more exciting. Authors who not only know science but practice it are
all too rare. John Cramer's distinguished career as a physicist enables
him to give this novel a ring of authenticity, not only scientific, but
"John Cramer's Twistor is conspicuously a Hard Science
Fiction novel ... this book kept me up an extra hour to finish it. It has
a lot of 'sense of wonder,' just like the old days. It's like getting an
old issue of Astounding and curling up with it for a few hours.
It's definitely fun, and the message ... isn't a bad one."
"John Cramer's first science fiction novel has two great things
going for it. His scientific background includes degrees in physics, and
he has been teaching the subject at university level. And somehow he also
learned to intertwine his far-reaching knowledge with a wonderful, exciting
story. Twistor may well be the best SF novel of the year."
A. E. van Vogt
"John Cramer's first novel has fascinating extrapolation, strong
characters, and accelerating suspense. Once you've read Twistor,
Cramer will be on your Must-Read list."
F. M. Busby
"Cramer kindles real scientific excitement through scrupulous
attention to technical detail. Ideas unfold naturally in tandem with narrative
tensions, and at the midpoint of the novel it becomes a page-turner techno-thriller.
It is a satisfying read ... The novel knows how 1980s science differs from
stereotypes. Experimentalists think quite differently than theorists. Physics
department rivalries put political spin on research decisions. Even the
computer hacking is authoritative ... Twistor stresses fidelity
to science as it is experienced first hand, the primary asset of 'hard'
science fiction ... the novel's implications leave us wanting more."
Gregory Benford, LOS ANGELES TIMES (2/89)
"Twistor marks the arrival of a major new science fiction
talent. John Cramer knows science, and people. He possesses to a phenomenal
degree the wit, ingenuity, and soaring imagination all of us hope for;
and they make Twistor a book no intelligent reader should miss."
"This book originates, then, not only from a scientist well up
in his profession but also from deeply felt and throroghly incorporated
SF traditions. Twistor ... is as handsome and well-formed a work
of its kind as one could ask for ... The sense of rigor derives from Cramer's
ingenuity in finding unexpected and charming ways to show us the shadow
universe in which the bulk of the extraterrestrial action occurs, and in
it things captivatingly like-but-unlike things in our world ... captivatingly
better ... If there is a 'hard-science' genre, John Cramer has excellently
filled our needs in that respect, and one looks forward to a sequel. This
book is what SCIENCE fiction is demonstrably all about. The rest of what
is done in SF has more to do with the fiction."
Algis Budrys, MAGAZINE OF F&SF (4/89)
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