Greg Bear's amazing slideshow for City at the End of Time, a novel set at the death of the universe

Eileen sez, "This cool home-grown slide show that Greg Bear made for his new novel, CITY AT THE END OF TIME (which is hitting the shelves today, from Del Rey/Orion) is an example of what a motivated writer can do with a camera, a few Photoshop chops, and generous splash of suspenseful pacing. It looks like the trailer for a very classy science-fiction movie. The book is set in Seattle, where Greg lives, so he (and his wife Astrid) took a few photos of local streets and alleys, P-shopped 'em until they looked alien and ominous, and stitched them together. Greg and his kids, Erik and Alex, also wrote and designed the rest of the site, and Erik created the music for the slide show. It's tough to impress me with slick marketing, but this low-tech trailer made my fingers itch to get my hands on the book. " City at the End of Time slideshow, City at the End of Time on Amazon

Update: Greg adds, "Erik did not do the music–that’s Creative Commons work downloaded by Terran McCanna, who did the animation and additional website artwork and graphics. Astrid helped with research and photography. Alexandra is blogging as Hope Hodgson, and we invite contributions of artwork and dreams of the far future. Erik did a Flickr photolog which we’re also using on Moo cards we’re handing around at Worldcon. Plus buttons, of course."


  1. Greg Bear is awesome, I asked him if he would read one of my short stories when I was a kid, and he took the time to read it and provide feedback.

    Very cool

  2. is the restaurant at the end of the universe situated in the city at the end of time?

  3. Classy? I don’t know if a Flash slideshow featuring vertical-only images and Times New Roman is all that classy. (And I have to be honest — the photos didn’t really dazzle me.)

  4. I find it so odd that I’ll be thinking of something “odd” and then I see it on BoingBoing that day. So, I was just thinking (about an hour ago) that it was time that Greg Bear came out with a new one. Coincidence doesn’t have to mean anything, and yet it can still feel important. I guess I need to go buy the book. Thanks for the good news.

  5. 5 comments already posted, but I somehow knew there’s no way I could be first with a Douglas Adams reference….

  6. I hate to be negative, but no, it doesn’t look like the trailer to a classy SF movie. It looks like a slideshow put together by some internet crank, trying to get folks to join his movement against the saucer people. Bear is a good writer, and I’m sure the book is good too, but that slideshow does NOT make me want to read it.

  7. rosyatrandom, there’s still time to get in a Moorcock reference about Dancers at the End of Time.

    “is the restaurant at the end of the universe situated in the city at the end of time?”

    Not any longer.

  8. “It looks like the trailer for a very classy science-fiction movie.”

    the slide show looks cheap and poorly constructed.

  9. I’m not too keen on the typeface or on the slideshow effects, but I do like the photography.

    My main problem, though, is that I totally don’t have the attention span to watch the whole thing.

    I think it’d work better as a web site I can click around in.

  10. No, actually, that wasn’t that good at all. Sounds like an interesting idea though…which I got in spite of the slide-show, rather than because of it.

  11. Have to agree with the above unimpressed. The trailer is in no way an exciting or engaging use of the medium, and it’s way too long.

    Moreover, Greg Bear is an uneven writer at best. FORGE OF GOD and ANVIL OF STARS have some interesting ideas but the characters, dialogue and descriptive prose are strictly from hunger.

    C’mon Cory, you if anyone know what good writing is. What’s wrong? Do you want to talk about it…?

  12. The negative comments on the slideshow interest, but don’t surprise, me. Xeni posted an experimental film in BBTV the other day, and it got a similar reaction. I’m afraid that people have gotten so used to seeing blockbuster films, that they can’t let go of that slick image, and see something for what it is. Does every promo piece have to look like a trailer for Batman Begins? I found this evocative, but them I’m not a fanboy.

  13. Splendid writer, Greg Bear.
    But – put together: a world which is our own – till suddenly it isn’t… epic future heat death of the universe… huge prehistoric insects crawling around… I’m sure it’s a very original book, but this blurb – Robert Charles Wilson’s “Darwinia” anyone?

  14. Great to see all the comments! Kvetchers and other creative folks are invited to submit their own mix of images–or new images–to the web site. We’re looking for anything like a dream or vision of the far future. And if you’d like to remix my photo images in a better way, or even do your own 3D Industrial Light and Magic-quality trailer, tell me about your work and send me the results at my website, For a far superior batch of trailers and CGI efforts, take a look at the CGSociety EON Challenge,

    These artists are truly marvelous.

  15. Greg Bear! So many great books! I’ve read Queen of Angles at least eight times. So many ideas in one book and so much literary experimentation. Everyone stand up and clap for the Bear!

  16. @15 – I agree with you in spirit, but the slideshow didn’t give me the impression that the amateurish quality was an artistic choice. It rather seemed like a result of the limited chops of those who put it together. Not everything has to be slick, but not everything poorly done qualifies as “experimental” either.

    There were some images that grabbed my attention, and I am compelled to give the book a try, but I stuck with the slideshow more out of a desire to see if it got more interesting than anything else.

  17. “Terran McCanna” sounds almost like Terrence McKenna. ;)

    I liked the ambient noises at the end of the slideshow — I was distinctly reminded of HyperCard and similar presentations I’ve seen in some Flash games. I would’ve gone with a different typeface too (looked like Times New Roman), but the Amazon description sounds epic.

    BTW, cool that Stephen King likes it! His Duma Key has a rather awesome trailer:


    Ah, book trailers. Let’s bring more on!

    Greg, I celebrate your and your collaborators’ creativity. And nice to see you in the comments!

    The rest of the website is worth a browse too; I haven’t been compelled by the “extended packaging” around a novel in some time like this… thanks for the experience!

Comments are closed.