Shadow on the Stars: Stepsons of Terra [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Robert Silverberg
eBook Category: Science Fiction
eBook Description: In an afterword to this novel, written a quarter of a century after its publication, and in a yet later afterword for this RosettaBooks edition, Robert Silverberg writes that Stepsons of Terra was his attempt to write a complex, shifting, even dazzling novel in the style of the heavily influential Philip K. Dick. Dick's ingenious plot and use of time paradoxes in his first novel, Solar Lottery (published in l954) had intrigued Silverberg, who was at the time 19 years old. Silverberg decided to attempt an ambitious science fiction novel which would mark him as more than a merely promising and limited new writer. Ewing, an ambassador from the distressed and soon to be invaded colony planet, Corwin, comes to his home planet to seek technological or military assistance...but finds that Earth, having dispersed its explorers and adventurers to the stars, is now a decadent civilization of poets and scholars, incapable of lending Corwin the aid it needs. It is from the scholar Myreck, however, that Ewing obtains the time-travel machine which permits him to use the knowledge of his later self to help an earlier Ewing defend against the aliens, and it is with this device that Ewing is able to confront the invading Klodni and--he hopes--expose their vulnerability in time to save Corwin and the other colonies.
eBook Publisher: RosettaBooks
Fictionwise Release Date: June 2002
8 Reader Ratings:
Ewing woke slowly, sensing the coldness all about him. It was slowly withdrawing down the length of his body; his head and shoulders were out of the freeze now, the rest of his body gradually emerging. He stirred as well as he could, and the delicately spun web of foam that had cradled him in the journey across space shivered as he moved.
He extended a hand and heaved downward on the lever six inches from his wrist. A burst of fluid shot forward from the spinnerettes above him, dissolving the web that bound him. The coldness drained from his legs. Stiffly he rose, moving as if he were very old, and stretched gingerly.
He had slept eleven months, fourteen days, and some six hours, according to the panel above his sleeping area. The panel registered time in Galactic Absolute Units. And the second, the Galactic Absolute Unit of temporal measure, was an arbitrary figure, accepted by the galaxy only because it had been devised by the mother world.
Ewing touched an enameled stud and a segment of the inner surface of the ship's wall swung away, revealing a soft glowing vision-plate. A planet hung centered in the green depths of the plate -- a planet green itself, with vast seas bordering its continents.
Ewing knew what his next task was. Moving quickly, now that circulation was returning to his thawed limbs, he strode to the compact bulk of the subetheric generator on the opposite wall and spun the contact dial. A blue light glowed.
"Baird Ewing speaking," he said to the pickup grid. "I wish to report that I've taken up a position in orbit around Earth after a successful flight. All's well so far. I'll be descending to Earth shortly. Further reports will follow."
He broke contact. This very moment, he knew, his words were leaping across the galaxy toward his home world, via subetheric carrier wave. Fifteen days would elapse before his message arrived on Corwin.
Ewing had wanted to stay awake, all the long months of his solitary trip. There was reading he wanted to do, and music disks to play. The idea of spending nearly a year asleep was appalling to him; all that time wasted!
But they had been adamant. "You're crossing sixteen parsecs of space in a one-man ship," they told him. "Nobody can stay awake all that time and come out of it sane, Ewing, And we need you sane."
He tried to protest. It was no good. The people of Corwin were sending him to Earth at great expense to do a job of vital importance; unless they could be absolutely certain that he would arrive in good condition, they would do better sending someone else. Reluctantly, Ewing yielded. They lowered him into the nutrient bath and showed him how to trip the foot levers that brought about suspension and the hand levers that would release him when his time was up. They sealed off his ship and shot it into the dark, a lonely raft on the broad sea, a coffin-sized spaceship built for one....
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