When seventeen-year-old Toby McGonigal finds himself lost in space, separated from his family, he expects his next drift into cold sleep to be his last. After all, the planet he's orbiting is frozen and sunless, and the cities are dead. But when Toby wakes again, he's surprised to discover a thriving planet, a strange and prosperous galaxy, and something stranger still—that he's been asleep for 14,000 years.
Welcome to the Lockstep Empire, where civilization is kept alive by careful hibernation. Here cold sleeps can last decades and waking moments mere weeks. Its citizens survive for millennia, traveling asleep on long voyages between worlds. Not only is Lockstep the new center of the galaxy, but Toby is shocked to learn that the Empire is still ruled by its founding family: his own.
Toby's brother Peter has become a terrible tyrant. Suspicious of the return of his long-lost brother, whose rightful inheritance also controls the lockstep hibernation cycles, Peter sees Toby as a threat to his regime. Now, with the help of a lockstep girl named Corva, Toby must survive the forces of this new Empire, outwit his siblings, and save human civilization.
Karl Schroeder's Lockstep is a grand innovation in hard Science Fiction space opera.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Seventeen-year-old Toby Wyatt McGonigal is lost in space for 14,000 years before his damaged ship makes it to a planet. He awakens from suspended animation to find himself the wealthy heir to the 70,000 planets of the lockstep, so named because the inhabitants adhere to a uniform pattern of hibernation: 30 years asleep, one month awake. When Toby overhears plans to turn him into a mindless puppet, he takes refuge with vagabonds who revile his family of interstellar tyrants. He's torn between wanting to help young Corva Keishion free her brother from quarantine and wishing to reunite with his own siblings, even though they seek his death. Schroeder depicts the corrosive effects of power and fame on family and self, but larger themes falter in the face of obedient, incongruously adorable bots, cuddly intelligent pets, and the inevitable but flimsy romance between Toby and Corva.