In 2026, the Earth faces an unexpected disaster. A supernova in the nearby Alpha Centauri system has apparently wiped out nearly every electronic component on the planet, leaving human civilization paralyzed. Phones don't work, transportation grinds to a halt, and essential services such as medical care are thrown back into the Stone Age. As the world tries to cope with this technological cut-off, a man dying of cancer begins a journey to save his life and that of his fellow patients, a master criminal escapes a sentence of “judiciary sleep,” a returning Mars expedition faces what looks like certain death, and U.S. president Saul Steinmetz strives to keep his country from falling apart. Author Charles Sheffield has taken a classic hard-SF concept, applied it to the real world, and created a gripping story of survival.