It's the 2050s, but there isn't a recognisable world to describe. Most of the inner solar system has been dismantled, converted to computronium to provide digital playgrounds for posthumans. A version of Amber watches this from Jovian orbit and the relative safety of her Ring Imperium. The other version of Amber, the alien-chaser, has woken apparently far away and downstream of her previous incarnation. Her alien hosts want her to defuse a hostile intelligence - which turns out to be Aineko, Manfred's robotic cat, many upgrades down the line.

Nightfall is probably my least favourite of the stories. In the context of the novel it improves, but not that much. It trades too much on its virtuality (Matrix riffs and all - how sf will eat itself!) and never overcomes the lingering suspicion that none of it matters that much.

The answer to the Fermi paradox is neat, and the implications for narrative in a world of inconstant identity are interesting, but in this story neither is fully explored. Perhaps the problem is that events back home, in the belly of the singularity, seem more interesting, but are given less time.

But here, in a lull, ends part two. And here ends my posting for the day, probably, since I'm almost at Glasgow. I should get through the last three stories over the weekend.