No writer stretches the boundaries of science fiction like Wil McCarthy does. Now this acclaimed author has crafted his most wildly ambitious and stunningly original novel yet, an unforgettable tale set in a wondrous future in which the secrets of matter have been unlocked and death itself is but a memory. A future also imperiled by a bitter rivalry between two brilliant scientists: one perhaps the greatest genius in the history of humankind, the other, its greatest monster . . . In the eighth decade of the glorious reign of Her Majesty Tamra Lutui, the Queendom of Sol enjoys a peace and prosperity even gods might envy. In fact, two awesome technologies have given human beings all the powers--and caprices--of the gods they once worshiped. The first is wellstone, a form of programmable matter capable of emulating almost any substance: natural, artificial, even hypothetical. The second is collapsium, a deadly crystal, composed of miniature black holes, that allows the virtually instantaneous transmission of information and matter--including humans--throughout the solar system. Bruno de Towaji, royal consort and the inventor of collapsium, dreams of building the arc de fin, an almost mythical device capable of probing the farthest reaches of spacetime. Marlon Sykes, de Towaji's rival in both love and science, is meanwhile hard at work on a vast telecommunications project whose first step consists of constructing a ring of collapsium around the sun. But when a ruthless saboteur attacks the Ring Collapsiter and sends it falling toward the sun, the two scientists must put aside personal animosity and combine their prodigious intellects to prevent the destruction of the solar system . . . and every living thing within it. In his most daring work yet, Wil McCarthy blasts us into a mythical realm--by turns hilarious, magnificent, and deeply moving--where two archmasters of physics compete for love and honor against a backdrop of stellar catastrophe. The Collapsium is a bold work of the imagination.