The Phantom of the Earth
by Raeden Zen
The Phantom of the Earth (Books 1-5) combines the first five books in the series: The Song of the Jubilee, The Gambit with Perfection, The Synthesis and the Animus, The Descent into the Maelstrom, and The Restoration of Flaws.
You can read an excerpt below. Make sure you check out the fantastic concept art on the Home page and the Settings page of the author's website. Here's an example:
Herbert's Dune meets Banks' The Player of Games in The Phantom of the Earth, a spellbinding science fiction epic set deep underground after the fall of civilization on Earth's surface.
Here are the five thought-provoking postapocalyptic stories that lovers of science fiction can't stop talking about, gathered together in one volume for the first time. The futuristic theories, conspiracies, political maneuvering, and characters within these visionary tales will stay with you long after you finish.
In the Great Commonwealth of Beimeni, a subterranean civilization in North America, expansion long ago gave way to peace and prosperity in the face of the history's most devastating plague. Immortality is the reward for service and loyalty in Beimeni, a place where the physical blends with the metaphysical and power consolidates in the hands of those with a genetic edge. The fissures first spread slowly, then swiftly, until now the Great Commonwealth finds itself on the brink of economic devastation, challenged by forces from within that know its secrets and its crimes.
At the center of the conflict lie the Selendias of Piscator, founders of the resistance with an uncanny connection to the zeropoint field, and the Barão Strike Team, three researchers tasked with finding a cure to the Reassortment Strain, the plague that nearly wiped humanity from the Earth. Traveling from the uninhabitable but pristine surface to the habitable but inhospitable underground, this is a story about dedication to dreams, battle for survival, discovery and connection, song and celebration, undoing past misdeeds, and sacrifice for the greater good.
Equation of Extinction
The Second Hundred Years’ War had concluded. So had human dominance of the Earth’s surface.
The Earth has orbited the sun 368 times since then, replenishing much of the renewable surface.
Nonrenewable resources, plentiful for most of the Earth’s history, had disappeared prior to the war, prior to the Reassortment Atmospheric Anomaly, which wiped humanity from the surface.
No one truly knows how the Reassortment Strain escaped containment, or what its intended purpose was. A zeropoint attack upon the Western Hegemony’s synbio laboratories and defense network destroyed all records of the strain, while 340 scientists on the team that designed it were stored in stasis near absolute zero. Now all but one of those scientists, Dr. Kole Shrader, are dead.
The Reassortment Strain still thrives in Earth’s atmosphere and bedrock. It’s a synthetic organism that was designed with the 4 traditional bases of DNA and their mirrored versions; it contains 8 nucleotides and 39 amino acids, and functions in ways unpredicted by science. After it escaped containment, it learned to live off sunlight and nitrogen and spread rapidly over the Earth’s atmosphere and in its soil. It recodes portions of its genome every few minutes and does so with many more combinations given its characteristic of chirality. It only kills transhumans.
Reassortment was born out of the Second Hundred Years’ War. A century of battles fought for possession of asteroids and minor planets throughout the Solar System, which held the last vestiges of nonrenewable resources, came to its inevitable end—the Reassortment Atmospheric Anomaly and Death Wave. The Reassortment Strain killed more efficiently than any transhuman weapon, silencing more than twenty-five billion transhumans in less than one year.
The survivors, who lived and worked beneath Antelope Canyon in the self-sustained and contained Livelle Laboratory, had mistakenly believed they had survived the plague. But a new war for survival had only just begun.
Early setbacks in the newly founded Livelle city-state, mainly from Reassortment scares in the underground, led to unprecedented and unpredicted expansion. Transhumans used mineral crushers, traveling deep inside the continent of North America to escape the strain. They formed a country called the Great Commonwealth of Beimeni some 2,500 meters deep, spreading civilization coast to coast, to the Arctic, and to Central America.
Scientific discoveries abounded, including rapid evolutionary advances, resistance to extreme heat and pressure, growth acceleration, and age reversal, among others; humanity, which had come so close to extinction, used the same synbio technology that created the Reassortment Strain to design a human genome with a theoretically infinite life span.
It also birthed a new conflict, with stakes as high as the one Before Reassortment. For unless a cure is found, the pressure from the weight of the Earth above, the burn from radioactivity driven outward from the planet’s core, and the seepage of Reassortment throughout the underground—an equation of extinction—threatens to finish what the Death Wave started 368 years ago …
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]
Praise for the Book
"The Phantom of the Earth Omnibus Edition is actually five distinct (but related) books [...]. This makes it an incredibly long read but a very rewarding one, having made my way through a few days ago. [...] Like great science fiction, there has been great attention to detail to make this underground world 'habitable'. Anyone could write something where it is basically just how earth is but with some underground elements. Certainly a lot of research went into working out the kinks of how humans could really survive underground. I second other reviewers that there was a good deal of scientific accuracy here. A lot of detail went into how people live underground, with issues dealing with food sources, water, etc. I really enjoyed that aspect. There is also a good deal of science going on with the genetic engineering side. It is interesting to note that the author actually consulted over 15 nonfiction science sources in order to make sure things were accurate, as well as actual scientists. Because of these themes, the author makes good use of synthetic biology and quantum physics. I was never very good at science, but I actually learned a lot about these topics from this book." ~ cookiecountess
"I appreciated the author’s commitment to scientific accuracy. He clearly consulted scientists and engineers about the subject matter, which emphasizes biology and genetic engineering. This made the story engrossing and gave the dystopian world a realistic edge over other series. I also admired the author’s attention to detail! Spread out over five books, there are a lot of characters and locations to remember. However, this complexity adds to the credibility of his creation and helps make this the best science fiction book I’ve read recently. I would recommend The Phantom of the Earth to any dystopian fiction fan; it may very well become your next favorite series." ~ Amazon Customer
"This is an outstanding story of the future of the earth after a virus has made the surface uninhabitable. The story is brilliantly told, and contains support material that enhances the realism of the story. This omnibus set includes five books and 1649 pages. Unfortunately, the drama is so compelling it is most difficult to stop the reading at any point. The trans humans of this future world have many features we don't have, but the story and appendices get us to an understanding of how the evolution has taken place. For me, a physics major, the high point was the scientific accuracy of the many elements used to create the world under the surface, and to create the material goods and human skills that make this world habitable. While I may rave about the accuracy of this future world, be assured that the story depends on human frailties that can be found in the most advance humanoids. Reading this series is a tremendous undertaking, but you will savor and enjoy every minute of it." ~ Kayak Jay
"There is no doubt that this series is a must read for all the lovers of science fiction and I wouldn’t be surprised if I see it on the big screen someday. It is perfectly written, not just for the writing style and quality of words, but because it keeps just the right amount of suspense through all five books, which is pretty hard to do without boring the reader on the way. I absolutely loved the series and I can’t wait to read more about this author. Hopefully, some spin off of The Phantom of the Earth will be released soon." ~ Vanessa Kings
About the Author
Raeden Zen is a speculative and supernatural fiction author. When he isn't writing, you can find him hanging out with his family and friends, reading, eating exotic foods, enjoying movies, swimming, procrastinating with social media, or watching sports. He lives in New York City.