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The Games

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The Games

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Jurassic Park meets The Hunger Games in this stunning new high-energy, high-concept tale from first-time novelist Ted Kosmatka, a Nebula Award and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist. ...
Jurassic Park meets The Hunger Games in this stunning new high-energy, high-concept tale from first-time novelist Ted Kosmatka, a Nebula Award and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist. ...
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  • Jurassic Park meets The Hunger Games in this stunning new high-energy, high-concept tale from first-time novelist Ted Kosmatka, a Nebula Award and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist.

    Brilliant geneticist Silas Williams oversees U.S. selections for the Olympic Gladiator competition, an internationally sanctioned bloodsport with only one rule: No entrants may possess human DNA. Desperate to maintain America's edge in the upcoming Games, Silas's superior engages an experimental supercomputer to design the ultimate, unbeatable combatant. The result is a highly specialized killing machine, its genome never before seen on earth. But even a genius like Silas cannot anticipate the consequences of allowing a computer's cold logic to play God. Growing swiftly, the mutant gladiator demonstrates preternatural strength, speed, and--most chillingly--intelligence. And before hell breaks loose, Silas and beautiful xenobiologist Vidonia João must race to understand what unbound science has wrought--even as their professional curiosity gives way to a most unexpected emotion: sheer terror.

    "Blends the best of Crichton and Koontz."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "Outstanding . . . very like something Michael Crichton might have written . . . [a] bold mix of horror and SF . . . Expect big things from [Ted] Kosmatka."--Booklist (starred review)

    "Kosmatka successfully captures the thrill of groundbreaking technology. . . . The pleasure of his polished, action-packed storytelling is deepened by strong character development. This near-future SF thriller . . . seems destined for the big screen."--Library Journal (starred review)

  • Chapter One

    Somewhere in the blackness a videophone rang. Through force of will, Silas brought the glowing face of the clock radio into focus: 3:07 a.m. His heart beat a little faster.

    Was it ever good news at 3:07 a.m.?

    He fumbled for the light near his bedside, sliding his hand up to the switch, wondering who could be calling this late. Suddenly, he knew¾the lab. The light was nearly as blinding as the darkness, but by squinting he found the phone, being careful to hit the voice-only button.

    "Hello," he croaked.

    "Dr. Williams?" The voice coming through the speaker was young and male. He didn't recognize it.

    "Yes," Silas answered.

    "Dr. Nelson had me call. You'll want to come down to the compound."

    "What's happened?" He sat up straighter in bed, swinging his feet to the carpet.

    "The surrogate went into labor."

    "What? When?" It was still too soon. All the models had predicted a ten-month gestation.

    "Two hours ago. The surrogate is in bad shape. They can't delay it."

    Silas tried to clear his head, think rationally. "The medical team?"

    "The surgeons are being assembled now."

    Silas ran his fingers slowly through his mop of salt and pepper curls. He checked the pile of dirty clothes lying on the floor next to his bed and snagged a shirt that looked a little less wrinkled than its brethren. Above all else, he considered himself to be an adaptable man. "How long do I have?"

    "Half hour, maybe less."

    "Thanks, I'll be there in twenty minutes." Silas clicked the phone off. For better or worse, it had begun.

    The night was cool for Southern California, and Silas drove with the windows down, enjoying the way the wind swirled around the cab of the Courser 617. The air was damp, tinged with a coming thunderstorm. Eagerness pressed him faster. He took the ramp to Highway 5 at seventy miles per hour, smiling at the way the car grabbed the curve. So many times as a youth he'd dreamed of owning a car such as this. Tonight his indulgence seemed prophetic; he needed every one of those thoroughbreds galloping beneath the low, sleek hood.

    As he merged onto the mostly empty interstate, he punched it, watching the speedometer climb to just over a hundred and five. The radio blared something he didn't recognize---rhythmic and frenzied, almost primeval, it matched his mood perfectly. His anxiety built with his proximity to the lab.

    Over the years he had become accustomed to the occasional midnight dash to the lab, but it had never been like this, with so many unknowns. A vision of Evan Chandler's grossly jowled face entered his mind, and he felt a rush of anger. He couldn't really blame Chandler. You couldn't ask a snake not to be a snake. It was the members of the Olympic Commission who should have known better.

    He switched lanes to avoid a minitram, his speed never dropping below 95mph. His dark eyes glanced into the rear view, scouting for a patrol. The ticket itself wouldn't bother him. He was exempt from any fine levied by local authorities while on his way to and from the lab, but the time it would cost to explain himself would be the real expense. All clear. He pushed the gas pedal to the floor. Minutes later, he hit his brakes, down shifted to third, and cut across two lanes to catch his exit. He was now out of the city proper, and into the suburbs of San Bernardino.

    Silas passed the brightly lit main entrance of Five Rings Laboratories without taking his foot off the gas. He didn't have time for the main entrance, the winding drive. Instead he veered left at the access...

About the Author-
  • Ted Kosmatka was born and raised in northwest Indiana and spent more than a decade working in various laboratories there before moving to the Pacific Northwest. His short fiction has been nominated for both the Nebula Award and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. He now works in the videogame industry where he's a full-time writer at Valve, home of Half-Life, Portal and Dota 2.

  • Publishers Weekly [Starred review] "Exacting science and meticulous attention to detail provide the backbone for this thriller, which blends the best of Crichton and Koontz."
  • Booklist [Starred Review] "Very like something Michael Crichton might have written...An outstanding debut novel; expect big things from Kosmatka."
  • Library Journal [Starred Review] "Kosmatka successfully captures the thrill of groundbreaking technology characteristic of Michael Crichton's technothrillers. . .The pleasure of his polished, action-packed storytelling is deepened by strong character development. This near-future sf thriller will capture the imagination of 'unstoppable monster' lovers and fans of disaster fiction alike and seems destined for the big screen."
  • My Bookish Ways "I stayed up very late just to finish this, and The Games certainly lives up to its buzz...The Games is a sci-fi/thriller with unexpected depth and humanity, and a few twists that I didn't see coming. Very highly recommended!"
  • Jonathan Strahan "Modern SF started with something like E. E. Smith's The Skylark of Space and progressed to Jack Williamson's The Legion of Space, then to Heinlein's classics, and on through the work of Larry Niven, John Varley, Greg Egan, Charles Stross, Cory Doctorow--and now, writers like Ted Kosmatka."
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