After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall

Nancy Kress

Language: English

Pages: 189

ISBN: 1616960655

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

2012 Nebula Award Winner
2012 Locus Award Winner
2013 Hugo Nominee
2013 Sturgeon Award Nominee

In the year 2035, all that is left of humanity lives in the Shell.

No one knows why the Tesslies attacked in 2014, devastated the environment, and nearly destroyed humanity. Or why the aliens imprisoned twenty-six survivors in a sterile enclosure built on the barren remains of the Earth.

Fifteen-year-old Pete, one of only six children born in the Shell, is determined to lead humanity to a new beginning. But Pete struggles to control his anger as, one by one, the survivors sicken and die. Although the Earth appears to be slowly healing, the Shell’s inhabitants may not live long enough to see it. The only chance for humanity lies within brief time portals. Peter and the survivors hatch a desperate plan: to increase their numbers by abducting children from the past.

In the year 2013, a brilliant CIA consultant sees a pattern in seemingly unrelated kidnappings. As Julie Kahn’s predictive algorithms reveal that the world is in imminent danger, she discovers that she may also play a role in its possible rebirth. Julie and Pete are rapidly converging in time—a chance encounter between them may be the Earth’s only hope.

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nurse would come every day for two weeks after Julie came home from the hospital. It was all meticulously planned. 90 After the Fall.indb 90 3/12/2012 12:25:12 PM after the fall, before the fall, during the fall Then came these sudden, wrenching pains that woke her in the middle of the night; apparently she was already many more centimeters dilated than she should be because now the pumpkin was moving inexorably through her body, trying to kill her. Julie writhed and screamed, Jacob’s

dazed mind. He would find the clear patch of wall at the end of the Shell and he would wait there until Tommy or somebody went there and saw him. Then Pete would gesture to be let back in. McAllister could open the funeral slot and Pete could crawl past Xiaobo—ugh—back inside the Shell. Unless— He rounded the far edge of the Shell and forgot his plan. The Shell sat on a hill of black rock. The black rock, broken with various grasses, sloped gently and 100 After the Fall.indb 100 3/12/2012

Fall.indb 127 3/12/2012 12:25:13 PM nancy kress She Googled him. Until two weeks ago he had been all over the Net. Then his posts on Facebook ceased, as did his blog. “You seem preoccupied,” Linda said. They sat under an awning in her back yard, drinking cold lemonade and watching Linda’s three kids splash in the pool. Alicia lay asleep in her infant seat. The beach-cottage-in-August scheme had been dropped; Linda and Ted were taking the children to visit their grandmother in Winnipeg, where

downstairs with the baby. Twelve minutes had passed. If he had the same twenty-two minutes as Ravi, then he had to wait ten more minutes. But maybe he didn’t have ten more— who knew what the Tesslies would do? Other than 132 After the Fall.indb 132 3/12/2012 12:25:13 PM after the fall, before the fall, during the fall watch humans squirm and struggle to survive. When he and Ravi caught one—not if, when—they would— Chime chime chime… The doorbell! Pete looked frantically around for somewhere

car seat. “Tomorrow the Azalea Festival begins over in Cochranton. You here for the festival?” “No.” “You should go. My niece Meg is going to be crowned Miss Cochranton Azalea.” “Congratulations.” “You should give the festival a look-see.” 157 After the Fall.indb 157 3/12/2012 12:25:14 PM nancy kress It took Julie a long time to get to sleep. Her theory— fanciful, dumb, insane—kept spinning around in her head. When she finally slept, she dreamed that Miss Cochranton Azalea, dressed in a pink

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