Aliens kidnap Manhattan; read all about it. Manhattan is taken away and placed under a huge clear dome, through which the trapped residents can see dozens of similarly trapped alien cities.
First published in 1993. Very much in the same spirit and scope as the 1996 film Independence Day. Echoed in a small way by the 1996 Star Trek: Voyager episode "Displaced." Science Fiction Book Club selection. Reached the preliminary Nebula Award ballot. On the Science Fiction Chronicle best of year list. Rockies Award winner. HOMer Award nominee. Hugo Award Honorable Mention. Seiun Award nominee (Japan). La Tour Eiffel nominee (France).
"Some ideas are just too good to pass up... the pleasure is in the nonstop action and the problem the characters must solve." -- New York Review of Science Fiction.
"Considerable ingenuity...Think of it as a visually spectacular movie...and a really outstanding, imaginative, and professional production staff and special effects crew working to bring off the big set--pieces and guarantee the thrills."--Locus
"How can you possibly resist?... Superscience SF in the classic vein, fast--moving, heroic...loaded with sensawunda. You'll love it."--Analog
In this somewhat old-fashioned hard SF novel, aliens abruptly wrap the island of Manhattan in a cocoon, move it through space and plop it--lock, stock and populace--in the middle of an extensive plain. In the distance lie similarly transported communities, of alien origin. Civil authorities, led by the city's first black woman mayor, strive to maintain order in the face of panic and the exhortations of a religious fanatic, while techies and scientists try to find out what has occurred. An expedition to some of the other cities, led by masterful army officer Matt Sheehan and young computer genius Bobby Joe Brewster, discovers evidence that the municipalities are transported just before disaster strikes their home planets. In one such city, the expedition learns, the inhabitants have all committed suicide. On finding that the ``plain'' they occupy is actually part of a giant ship, the expedition attempts to contact its crew. Stith's ( Redshift Rendezvous) initial picture of disaster and some of his speculations on alien societies are intriguing, but the cliched and predictable actions of his main characters make for a dreary read.