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The Way is a science fiction series by Greg Bear, composed of three novels and a short story.

  • Eon (1985)
  • Eternity (1988)
  • Legacy (1995, a Prequel to Eon)
  • The Way of All Ghosts (1999, a short story)

The series centers around an asteroid called the Stone that suddenly appears on the galactic scene and enters orbit around Earth. However, as the NATO scientists who explore the Stone soon discover, the human-built facilities inside the Stone may not have come from their future, but that of an alternate Earth. The libraries in the Stone tell of a nuclear war that has yet to occur in their time, leaving said scientists the task of changing the course of their own future.

Oh, and the descendants of humanity are still living in the asteroid, down a corridor in the last chamber that extends beyond the end of the asteroid. And they've been waiting a lot time to come back home...

Eon should not be confused with the RPG of the same name.


Eon contains examples of:

  • After the End: With Earth plunged into a nuclear war, the NATO forces on the Stone convince the Soviets to work together to survive. They eventually return to Earth to start caring for the survivors and dissipating the radiation.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 1.
  • Bad Future: Patricia thinks the future history books found on the Stone foreshadow possible events in her own Earth’s future.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In the end the Jarts manage to shoo axis city out of The Way.
  • Big Dumb Object: The Thistledown, and then an interesting case of a Big Dumb Object having an even bigger BDO inside....
  • Bigger on the Inside: The seventh chamber
  • Bizarrchitecture: Due to the lower gravity closer to the axis, the buildings in Thistledown were build larger as they got taller - like a golf tee.
  • But Not Too White: Patricia reassures Paul that he is “the first non-Anglo boyfriend” she’s brought home to meet her parents. But her mother later thinks to herself that Paul looks “more Anglo than the others” because of his pale skin.
  • But What About the Astronauts??
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: After being shot in the head, Mirsky can feel the difference whenever he thinks with the replacement parts of his brain, and considers himself a different person from before.
  • Disposable Woman: Yefremova to Mirsky, and Paul to Patricia, pretty much.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: During Mirsky's training.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms
  • Gender Rarity Value: A shortage of women on the Stone after the Death leads to arming said women to protect against rapes.
  • Human Aliens: The Frants, but oddly enough many of the future humans avoid this by having artificially designed bodies.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Mirsky's men vs. the Zampolits.
  • I Want My Jetpack: Patricia says the second chamber, “just doesn’t look that much like the future.” She’s somewhat justified in this case, though, since the second chamber architecture was built to resemble twentieth-century earth; technology in other parts of the Stone is more advanced.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Including lots of named bit characters who only appear a couple of times.
  • Lucky Seven: The seventh chamber of the Stone is the important one. It is blown off the end of the Stone with seven charges.
  • Mr. Exposition: Chapters Three and Four are basically Lanier doing this for each chamber in the Stone.
  • NATO: Helped the U.S. gain control over the Stone before the USSR.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Averted with Ralph Nader and Mikhail Gorbachev.
  • Not Quite Dead: Mirsky is shot in the head. We have to wait ten chapters before finding out he was regenerated by the library’s emergency systems.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: Subverted by the Neomorphs, many of whom have amazingly inhuman engineered bodies.
  • Nuke'Em: Both the United States and the Soviet Union have this attitude.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Belozersky and Yazykov.
  • Power Trio: The Zampolits have Belozersky as Id, Vielgorsky as Ego and Yazykov as Superego.
  • Red Scare: Still scary.
  • Ringworld Planet: The Stone, with the Thistledown inside.
  • Serious Business: Technological advancement, for the Naderites.
  • Space Amish: Played with in The Naderites. They keep themselves a tech bracket above us, but below the rest of Axis City.
  • Starfish Aliens: Of all the species that trade along the Way, only the Naderites and Frants are humanoid.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: In the novel's version of the twenty-first century, the United States enters a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Also, The Berlin Wall still seems to be up, due to West German personnel on the Stone.
  • The Mole: Takahashi.
  • Throwaway Country: Subverted when Patricia reads a textbook with an index of all the casualties in her home state of California.
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: The Soviets.
  • Trapped in Another World: Patricia, literally.
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future: Eon begins on Christmas Eve in 2000, and most of the action occurs during 2005.
  • Unusual Dysphemism: The Earth team’s name for the Stone’s original builders? Stoners. Having a nervous breakdown over the existential ramifications of the Stone? Getting Stoned.
  • World War III: The Death.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math
  • You Are in Command Now: Mirsky

Eternity contains examples of:

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