Saturday, 3 March 2012

PROJECT POPE

Sidgewick & Jackson hardback, 1981. Cover illustration by Ian McCaig.

"On the Rim planet fittingly called End of Nothing, a bizarre society of robots and humans toiled for a thousand years to perfect a religion that would create a new and all-embracing faith - no novelty in a galaxy crowded with religions. But one project was hidden from the hordes of pilgrims welcomed at Vatican-17 on End of Nothing. A group of trained human sensitives were sending their minds ranging through all of time and space, gathering information. With that information,a  computer of infinite knowledge, wisdom, and infallibility was being constructed in secret - the ultimate Pope. 
Of the three outsiders allowed residence on End of Nothing, one was tolerated at a distance by Vatican-17, one was welcomed - and one was a threat to be countered. 
Decker hardly mattered. His lifeboat had landed him on the remote planet, and he kept to himself in the wilderness. Neither the human or the robot authorities knew of the unseen companion who whispered constantly in Decker's mind. 
Dr Jason Tennyson had fled the political furies of his homeworld. Here, Vatican-17's physician had died, and Tennyson's skills were desperately needed and well rewarded. 
Jill Roberts was a journalist in quest of a sensational story she had scented. Vatican-17 knew she could not be allowed to break the news of Project Pope before it was completed - and debated two possible ways of stopping her. 
Then one of the Searcher sensitives threw Vatican-17 into turmoil, threatening its very existence and involving the three outsides in a sudden power struggle between human and robot. 
Drifting in unsuspected dimensions, the woman had encountered Heaven!"
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