The year is 2167, and Simon Shadow is nearly killed by a crazed co-worker's explosive suicide. Leaving Earth behind, Simon embarks on a quest for freedom-to Reetar, a distant planet recently colonized. Upon arrival, he finds a city bristling with rival religions. Within days, Simon offends the Unholy Mass, a powerful and sadistic religion. His life threatened, he realizes the only way to save himself is to become a rival faith-Shimmerism. On the far side of the planet, meanwhile, a lone starship crash-lands. The survivors begin their own quest, searching for a fabled city of spirituality; and above them all, in orbit, a powerful military force keeps watch, laying waste to anyone foolish enough to threaten the balance of the Great Experiment-the ruling philosophy that governs humanity's colonization of new worlds. The Rise and Fall of Shimmerism casts a speculative eye on a vast human population whose profiteering fringe blazes its way across the next great frontier, caught in a violent cycle of soulless spirituality. An epic future-history replete with phantasmagoric drugs, strange music, and savage ironies, the book ultimately touches on the evolution of human awareness-and the first confused glimpses of a malevolent new reality.
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