The Other End of Time, The Siege of Eternity, The Far Shore of Time
Pohl, Frederik. The Other End of Time, The Siege of Eternity, The Far Shore of Time. A trilogy or the first three books in the "Eschaton Sequence." New York: Tor Books, 1996, 1997, 1999. Mass market paperbacks, OET: 1997, SE: 1998, FST: 2000.
The "Eschaton" here is precisely what it means in eschatology: the End Time after the Apocalypse, here Apocalypse as the entirely natural Big Crunch when the universe collapses on itself—adding the theologically eschatological idea that sentients will survive the Big Crunch, and dead intelligent creatures will be resurrected, to live forever. Who will rule that "forever" is the final contest foreseen in this series, contested in the Earth's quite near future by two great species (and Homo sapiens sapiens—our species—is neither of them). As with FP's Gateway series, technology, esp. alien technology, is central but usually in the background: of ten something humans want to get hold of to use, study, or and/or sell in the cases of alien technology. FST the most relevant for, among other motifs, the following: machines vs. controlled intelligent biological creatures; very strange and smart alien robots (which look most like Christmas trees, not helpful humans or animals); implants for spying, controlling, and translating, matter transmission and replication; speculations on quantum sources of energy and matter. Human technology of interest is a full-body life-support system in FST, occasional references passim to collars for criminals and other held under surveillance (cf. collars for "Risks" in FP and J. Williamson's Reefs of Space), and assorted high-tech items unobtrusively extrapolated from our world. (RDE, 07/06/01)