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Invaders from Earth [Secure eReader]
eBook by Robert Silverberg

eBook Category: Science Fiction
eBook Description: Ted Kennedy, advertising executive for the Ganymede Project, is made aware of a plan for genocide, for the murder of all the peaceful natives of Ganymede in furtherance of commerce...and it is his decision as to whether he collaborates with, facilitates this genocide or--by opposing it, by bringing the truth to the public--he risks not mere failure but utter destruction. Robert Silverberg's comment on his novel: ..."it involves a Madison Avenue hoax involving a nonexistent colony on Ganymede being worked up for political purposes, some sort of cynical disinformation campaign of the kind that was science fiction in l958 but is everyday news these days." Everyday news and, of course, the premise of the successful and frighteningly premonitory film, Wag the Dog.

eBook Publisher: RosettaBooks
Fictionwise Release Date: June 2002

9 Reader Ratings:
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Chapter 1

Ted Kennedy had a premonition the night before. It came, as so many premonitions do, in the form of a dream. Guns blazed, innocent people died, fire spread over the land. Looming thermonuclear mushrooms hung in the skies. He stirred fitfully, sighed, nearly awoke, and sank back into sleep. But when morning came he felt pale and weary; he ended the insistent buzz of the alarm with an impatient wrist-snap and dangled his legs over the edge of the bed, rubbing his eyes. The sound of splashing water told him that his wife was already awake and in the shower.

He had never awakened easily. Still groggy, he shambled across the bedroom to the cedar chest, groped for his robe, and headed for the kitchen. He punched buttons on the autocook, setting up breakfast. One of these mornings, he thought wryly, he'd be so sleepy he'd order steak sandwiches on toast instead of the usual bacon.

Marge was out of the shower and drying herself with all her awesome early-morning vigor when he returned to the bedroom to dress.

"Breakfast up?" she asked.

Kennedy nodded and fumbled in the closet for his best suit, the dark green one with red lace trim. He would need to look good today; whatever the conference on Floor Nine was, it was bound to be important, and it wasn't every day a third-level public relations man got summoned to Floor Nine.

"You must have had a bad dream last night," Marge said suddenly. "I can tell. You're still brooding over it."

"I know. Did I wake you up?"

She smiled, the bright sudden smile that so astonished him at 5 A.M. They had always been different that way -- he the late riser who was still fresh long past midnight; she buoyant and lively from the earliest morning hours till the middle of the evening. "You didn't wake me up, no. But I can see the dream's still with you. Tell me about it -- and hurry up. You don't want to miss the car pool."

"I dreamed we were at war," he said.

"War? With whom?"

He hesitated. "I don't know. I mean, I don't remember any of the motivation. But it was a terrible war... and I have the nagging feeling we started it."

"How could there possibly be a war? Everyone's at peace, darling! It's been that way for years. There aren't going to be any more wars on Earth, Ted."

"Maybe not on Earth," he said darkly.

He tried to laugh it off, and by the time he had finished breakfast some of the irrational fear-tide had begun to recede. They ate quietly. Kennedy was never much of a breakfast-table conversationalist. It was nearly 6 A.M. by the time they finished and Marge had dumped the dishes into the washer; the sun was rising now over the low Connecticut hills. He finished dressing, tugging at his collar to keep his braided throat-cord from throttling him, and gave his epaulets a light dusting of powdered gold. Marge remained in her gown; she worked at home, designing house furnishings and draperies.

At 6:18 sharp he was on the porch of his home, and at 6:20 the shiny yellow '44 Chevrolet-Cadillac drew up outside, Alf Haugen at the wheel. Haugen, a stocky, meatyfaced man with bright sharp eyes, worked at the desk behind Kennedy's in the Steward and Dinoli office, and this was his week to drive the car-pool auto. Of the six of them, Haugen had by far the best car, and he enjoyed flaunting it.

Kennedy half-trotted down the walk to Haugen's car. He glanced back and waved at Marge, noting with some annoyance that she had gone out on the porch wearing only her filmy morning gown. Some of the men in the car were bachelors, and, unlike Haugen, Kennedy didn't believe in flaunting his treasures openly. Marge was a handsome woman, but he felt no urge to demonstrate that fact to Lloyd Presslie or Dave Spalding, or to any of them for that matter.

He slid into the back of the car; Presslie and Mike Cameron moved over to make room for him. Haugen nudged the start-button, the turboelectrics thrummed, and the car headed smoothly off toward the city.

Apparently, Spalding had been in the middle of some joke when they stopped to pick up Kennedy. Now he reached the punch-line and the five of them, everyone in the car but Kennedy, laughed.

Kennedy disliked Spalding. The slim young fourth-level man lived in the apartment development three miles further along the road; he was unmarried, deeply intense about most subjects, and almost never let anyone know what he might actually be thinking. It was not a trait that endeared him to people, which was probably why he was still only a fourth-level man after three years at Steward and Dinoli. It was no secret that old Dinoli preferred outgoing types, married, in his higher levels.

"Any of you know anything about the big deal brewing today?" Mike Cameron asked suddenly.

Kennedy jerked his head to the left. "What big deal? Did you get invited to Floor Nine, too?"

Cameron nodded. "We all were. Even Spalding. I guess Dinoli sent that memo to the whole third and fourth level yesterday afternoon. Something big's brewing, mark my words, friends!"

"Maybe the agency's dissolving," Lloyd Presslie suggested sourly. "Or maybe Dinoli hired a bunch of top-level men away from Crawford and Burstein and we're all being bounced down three notches."

Haugen shook his head. "It's some big new account the old man landed. I heard Lucille talking about it near closing time. Whenever you're in doubt, ask Dinoli's secretary." He laughed coarsely. "And if she's reluctant to spout, pinch her a little."

The car swung into the main artery of the Thruway. Kennedy peered pensively out the window at the towns flashing by, a hundred feet below the gleaming white ribbon of the main road. He said little. The thunderburst of H-bombs echoed in his ears, souvenir of the past night's dreaming, and in any event he still felt drugged by sleep.

Some big new account. Well, even so, that shouldn't affect him. He had started handling public relations for Federated Bauxite Mines only last week -- a long-range project whose ultimate aim was to convince the people of a large Nebraska district that their economy wouldn't be upset and their water supply polluted by the local aluminum-seekers who had newly invaded their district. He had just scarcely begun preliminary research; they wouldn't yank him off the account so soon.

Or would they?

There was no predicting what Dinoli might do. Public relations was a tricky, fast-moving field, and its province of operations was expanding all the time.

Kennedy felt strangely tense, and for once the smooth purr of the throbbing generators beneath him failed to ease his nerves.

Copyright © 1958 by Robert Silverberg

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