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The Clouds of Saturn [Secure eReader]
eBook by Michael McCollum

eBook Category: Science Fiction
eBook Description: When the sun flared out of control and boiled Earth's oceans, humanity took refuge in a place that few would have predicted. In the greatest migration in history, the entire human race took up residence among the towering clouds and deep clear-air canyons of Saturn's upper atmosphere. Having survived the traitor star, they returned to the all-too-human tradition of internecine strife. The new city-states of Saturn began to resemble those of ancient Greece, with one group of cities taking on the role of militaristic Sparta ...

eBook Publisher: JABberwocky Literary Agency
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2000


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Prologue

The sun is a variable star. Changes in solar output have sent glaciers marching toward the equator every fifty thousand years or so. The last such episode took place in late prehistoric times and coincided with the displacement of Neanderthal Man by the Cro-Magnons. Nor has Modern Man been immune to the effects of the sun's variability. During the Little Ice Age of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Century, a minor reduction in solar output caused the harbors of Iceland and Greenland to be blocked by ice for 6 months out of every year. At least one Viking colony starved to death because of the climatic change.

It was not until the first decade of the Twenty Second Century, however, that humanity realized the true extent of Sol's variability. Beginning in 2102, the sun was wracked by a series of solar flares. As such, outbursts grew more frequent and violent; astronomers began to reexamine their long held beliefs about the nature of the sun. It was with understandable horror that they realized Sol was about to enter a period of long term instability. Projections called for the sun's output to increase gradually for several hundred years. While minor on the scale of the universe, the change would render Earth uninhabitable within a century. If nothing were done to stop it, the Mother of Men would become a twin to Venus-- a hothouse planet on which liquid water no longer existed.

Faced with extinction, the human race directed its considerable resources toward saving the home world. No possibility was overlooked. Many research efforts were launched in a period that became known as the Golden Age of Pure Science. Despite their best efforts, the scientists could find no practical method for bringing the errant star to heel. After decades of study, Earth's leaders reluctantly concluded that humankind would have to abandon its ancestral home. They began to search the Solar System for a place of refuge.

The haven they chose was not one many would have guessed.

Copyright © 1991, 1999 by Michael McCollum


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