Drumlin Circus / On Gossamer Wings
The first Copperwood Double combines two short novels back-to-back, each with its own cover, both set in Jeff Duntemann’s Drumlins world. On an abandoned alien planet, 700 castaways from Earth find thousands of alien manufacturing machines, which can produce anything you want…if you know the 256-bit code. The artifacts (dubbed “drumlins”) that come out of these “thingmakers” are themselves mysterious, and seem to understand what humans are doing and perhaps even thinking. 250 years later, drumlins have allowed the unwilling colonists to create a thriving society resembling 19th Century America, with steam power and a very wild West. Some want to use drumlins to repair their starship and return to Earth. Others prefer the life they’ve created in partnership with the thingmakers, even though rumors hold that some drumlins are dangerous and even deadly, or at very least not what they appear to be.
Drumlin Circus: When a circus master’s wife learns how to make smilodons as docile as housecats using a drumlin whistle, agents from the cultlike Bitspace Institute abduct her, hoping to use the whistle to create animal assassins. One of the circus’s clowns, himself a former Institute man, returns to Institute HQ to free Pretty Alice and settle some unanswered questions about his early life. In doing so he sets off an escalating battle between the Circus and the Institute that draws in a coven of witches, a miniature hydrogen airship, and a steam calliope that speaks to the deepest minds of men, animals, and the half-sentient drumlins themselves.
On Gossamer Wings: In a hardscrabble town among the rye fields of the sparsely-populated West, a mute and aphasic teen girl dreams of constructing a flying machine out of drumlins. Lacking the power of words, she has an unobstructed grasp of the mathematics of flight. She also has a mysterious rapport with the thingmakers that allows her to locate the drumlins she needs, even when their bit-pattern is unknown–including spheres of elemental iron and ducted-fan engines running on zero-point energy. Drawn by rumors of unnaturally pure iron, a ruthless Institute agent seeks her out in the hope of harnessing her talent before fearful townfolk expel her from town and destroy her dream of flight.
Veteran computer author Jeff Duntemann’s second collection of short fiction runs the gamut from spaceflight to mathematically rigorous witchcraft. The volume includes “Cold Hands,” (nominated for the Hugo Award) “Our Lady of the Endless Sky,” “Inevitability Sphere,” “Whale Meat,” “Born Again, With Water,” “Drumlin Boiler,” “Drumlin Wheel,” and “Roddie,” plus a new excerpt from his hard SF nanotech adventure novel, The Cunning Blood.
Sample Chapter (PDF)
Hardcover Book (Novel; 360pp.)
Caught violating the Zero Tolerance for Violence laws, Peter Novilio is sentenced to a one-way trip to Earth’s prison planet in the Zeta Tucanae system. Hell was forever: Its ecosphere had been infected with microscopic nanomachines that destroyed electrical conductors, condemning its inmates to a neo-Victorian steam-and-gaslight society without computers, spaceflight, or any hope of escape. Peter had in fact been framed by Earth’s paranoid world government, and is offered a pardon in return for conducting a reconnaissance mission to Hell and back. There were hints that Hell was developing impossible technologies or had somehow evaded the wire-eating nanobugs entirely. How he would return from Hell was a secret known only to his grim mission partner Geyl Shreve. But Peter had a secret as well: He was a member of the outlawed Sangruse Society, and in his blood flowed the Sangruse Device, Version 9, the most powerful nanocomputer AI ever created. Although supposedly Peter’s protector and advisor, the Device answers to no one but the Society’s mysterious leader, and has reasons of its own for visiting Hell. Peter soon discovers that he is little more than a disguise, caught in a covert war among Earth, a revolutionary group bent on overthrowing Earth’s government, Hell’s ingenious inmates, and the deadly mechanism in his veins. For as fearsome as it is, the Device itself is afraid – and the fates of whole worlds would be decided by the threat that The Cunning Blood had discovered outside of space and time.
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Computer author Jeff Duntemann turns his talents to the challenges that “strong” artificial intelligence may face in this, his first collection of SF shorts. Stories include: “The Steel Sonnets”; “Guardian” (Nominated for the 1981 Hugo Award); “Silicon Psalm”; “Marlowe”; “Borovsky’s Hollow Woman” (with Nancy Kress); “Bathtub Mary”; “STORMY vs. the Tornadoes”; and “Sympathy on the Loss of One of Your Legs”; plus an excerpt from his novel of nanotech AI, The Cunning Blood.
In Jeff Duntemann’s only published work of fantasy, two 700-year-old witches in modern-day Chicago must confront a demand from the community of whales living in Earth’s oceans, that their unborn son join in their effort to heal the broken soul of humankind–with death the outcome should he fail. Homeless, hungry, and mostly without hope, Yonnie and Mara find help in some unlikely places, including a young mathematics student struggling to understand calculus, and an alcoholic bum who is much more than he seems.
Now in its third Wiley edition (and fourth overall since the book’s first publication in 1989) Jeff Duntemann’s award-winning newcomer’s tutorial to Intel 32-bit i86 assembly language sets ancient DOS aside forever and goes all-Linux. From the fundamental concepts of computing itself (including hexadecimal math) the book takes the reader through the basics of the i86 instruction set, Linux system access via interrupt 80h and finally calls into the standard C library. Unlike many books on assembly language, the primary focus is on memory addressing, which the author considers the core skill in assembly programming.