The Last Theorem
[The] story of one man's mathematical obsession, and a celebration of the human spirit and the scientific method. It is also a gripping intellectual thriller in which humanity, facing extermination from all-but-omnipotent aliens, the Grand Galactics, must overcome differences of politics and religion and come together . . . or perish.
In 1637, the French mathematician Pierre de Fermat scrawled a note in the margin of a book about an enigmatic theorem: "I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain." He also neglected to record his proof elsewhere. Thus began a search for the Holy Grail of mathematics--a search that didn't end until 1994, when Andrew Wiles published a 150-page proof. But the proof was burdensome, overlong, and utilized mathematical techniques undreamed of in Fermat's time, and so it left many critics unsatisfied--including young Ranjit Subramanian, a Sri Lankan with a special gift for mathematics and a passion for the famous "Last Theorem."
When Ranjit writes a three-page proof of the theorem that relies exclusively on knowledge available to Fermat, his achievement is hailed as a work of genius, bringing him fame and fortune. But it also brings him to the attention of the National Security Agency and a shadowy United Nations outfit called Pax per Fidem, or [i.e., translated, perhaps misleadingly, as] Peace Through Transparency, whose secretive workings belie its name. Suddenly Ranjit-together with his wife, Myra de Soyza, an expert in artificial intelligence, and their burgeoning family-finds himself swept up in world-shaking events, his genius for abstract mathematical thought put to uses that are both concrete and potentially deadly.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to anyone on Earth, an alien fleet is approaching the planet at a significant percentage of the speed of light. Their mission: to exterminate the dangerous species of primates known as [H]omo sapiens. (Dust jacket)
From Publishers Weekly (August 2008)
Grand Masters Pohl (Gateway) and the late Clarke (1917–2008, best known for 2001) collaborated on a can't-put-down adventure that focuses on their mutual strengths: high adventure, fun characters and hard science. Sometime in the near future, teenage Sri Lankan math prodigy Ranjit Subramanian manages to reconstruct and then publish Fermat's claimed proof of his famous last theorem. [But as] Ranjit celebrates fame and fortune, the all-powerful aliens called Grand Galactics see the flash from early nuclear explosions and decide that humanity will have to be wiped out. […]
The Boy Who Would Live Forever
SFWA Grand Master Pohl's latest is a pure delight, miraculously combining wry adventure and compassionate satire. Since it began with the novel GATEWAY (1977), Pohl's Heechee series has been among the most consistently daring of SF's continuing enterprises, and this first book in 15 years does its best to wake readers up. Pohl's characters have a lot to think about, too. As humans spread through space–allying themselves with the alien Heechee and realizing that they now have the option of having their personalities preserved forever electronically in the company of dazzlingly accomplished AIs–they must decide what to keep and what to give up. A young man and woman begin, tentatively and convincingly, to explore the possibilities of their relationship in this complicated universe. At the same time, though, selfish and super-rich Wan Enrique Santos-Smith refuses to surrender any of his childish anger and sets out to take revenge on all the adults who've frustrated his desires. Pohl flips nimbly from character to character, star to star, inside and outside the black hole where the Heechee and many humans are learning to live maturely together. Surprises abound, but readers will feel that they could have seen them coming if they'd been a little more ready to trust their imaginations. Pohl believes we can learn to live with extraordinary challenges; his tempered, hard-won faith in humanity makes this book especially satisfying. –PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)
The Other End of Time
Signals are received: a crude depiction of creatures pantomiming the destruction of the universe. Soon after, scientists note unusual radiation from an abandoned Earth-orbital observatory. When investigators board the observatory, they are taken prisoner. An unsuspecting Earth has just become part of a vast interstellar war.
The discovery of another habitable world might [… save] the … power blocs of the resource-starved 21st century; but … arriving on Jem … they … export their rivalries. Subtitled, with savage irony, "The Making of a Utopia," Jem is one of Frederik Pohl's most powerful novels.
Man Plus, winner of the Nebula Award, is the story of how a man undergoes a physical transformation in order to adapt to life on Mars. His cyborg makeover leads him to question the nature of humanity. First published in 1976, it remains relevant in today's ever-changing technological world.