Robert Charles Wilson
Synopsis: A large alien artifact goes into orbit around the Earth, where it apparently does nothing for a year. Rumours start that the leaders of various government have been in contact with the Artifact. A coup is put into motion in the US, although the President manages to bluff the would-be junta into delaying for a few days. Doctor Matt Wheeler learns that the blood work on patients going to his hospital is very strange, so peculiar the patients should be extremely dead. Finally, the entire world falls into a deep sleep for over a day. In their sleep, they all dream that they are asked if they want to live. The ones who say yes will be given a form of immortality. About one in ten thousand say no.
The book follows two sets of people who say no, a large one from Matt’s town, including Matt, and a smaller one centred on a mad military fellow named Tyler.