Li is a farmer. He and his one thousand genetically engineered siblings plant rice in the paddy fields of the Yangtze desert. Until the age of five, the desert is all Li knows. Then the soldiers come and take the clones away. Li manages to escape but finds himself alone for the first time in his life. Beaten by the elements, betrayed by new friends, and imprisoned for crimes he does not understand, Li loses his innocence.
But he gains his identity. Under the tutelage of Roman Obolensky, a technologist who wants to live forever, Li develops ambition. That ambition drives Li to the asteroid Ceres, where he discovers his siblings are being used to construct engines beneath the asteroid. After leading a revolt against the corporate overlords of Ceres, Li learns of a new danger: an inscrutable alien entity known as Scorpio has appeared at the edge of the solar system. Scorpio falls toward Jupiter and panic engulfs the red giant's colonies.
Humanity watches helplessly as Scorpio pushes Jupiter toward the Sun. To study the entity, Li moves Ceres into orbit of Jupiter. He is joined by Callum Bell, an astrophysicist tasked with reverse engineering Scorpio's advanced technology. Callum makes no progress until a refugee from Europa arrives, the exobiologist Zahara van der Meer. With Li's help, Zahara initiates communication with Scorpio.
Now nearing the Sun, Scorpio begins to transform Jupiter into something more than a planet and it falls to Li, Callum, and Zahara to unravel the entity's secrets. When the truth becomes clear, Li is faced with a choice: allow Callum to execute a dangerous plan to rid the solar system of Scorpio, or offer a compromise that will change humanity forever.
Asynchrony is a hard science fiction novel complete at 132,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.