An alternate-history reimagining of the Faust legend from the Nebula Award–winning author of Stations of the Tide
Taking as his canvas the classic tale of the temptation of Faust—made famous by such literary luminaries as Goethe, Marlowe, and Mann—author Michael Swanwick paints a fresh vision of the dangers posed by the pursuit of knowledge. Set in Old World Germany, this tale of science and damnation begins with the great scholar Dr. Johannes Faust burning his books, having concluded that all his knowledge is nothing compared to the vast sea of ignorance surrounding him. Out of his despair, he inadvertently summons the tempter spirit, Mephistopheles, who is the projection of a dying alien race determined to make the destruction of humankind its final deed. Their weapon is knowledge—of science and technology, the mechanics of flight, the nature of the atom, and the secrets of economics.
When, in an act of defiance, Faust nails the Periodic Table of the Elements to a church door in Wittenberg, he ushers in a golden age of prosperity for Germany that will make him the most powerful man in the world. But the love of the beautiful Margarete will be his downfall. What happens when the greed for knowledge and glory goes unchecked? Has a demon ever made a bad deal yet?
Nominated for the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, and the British Science Fiction Award, Jack Faust is a masterful retelling of legend by one of science fiction’s finest craftsmen.