Earth by Ben Bova (The Grand Tour, book #24)
English | 2019 | Sci-Fi | ePUB | 1.2 Mb
Earth : Earth is the latest science fiction novel from multiple Hugo Award winner Ben Bova, author of Apes and Angels and Survival
A wave of lethal gamma radiation is expanding from the core of the Milky Way galaxy at the speed of light, killing everything in its path. The countdown to when the death wave will reach Earth and the rest of the solar system is at two thousand years.
Humans were helped by the Predecessors, who provided shielding generators that can protect the solar system. In return, the Predecessors asked humankind’s help to save other intelligent species that are in danger of being annihilated.
But what of Earth? With the Death Wave no longer a threat to humanity, humans have spread out and colonized all the worlds of the solar system. The technology of the Predecessors has made Earth a paradise, at least on the surface. But a policy of exiling discontented young people to the outer planets and asteroid mines has led to a deep divide between the new worlds and the homeworld, and those tensions are about to explode into open war.
“The android’s optronic brain circuits ran through the possibilities at nearly the speed of light.
Trayvon Williamson’s eyes smoldered with the knowledge of death. Those eyes had seen his two thousand shipmates torn apart and burned to death in a heartbeat’s span, and the memory haunted him. It was guilt that blazed in his eyes.
Why me? he was asking himself. Why did I survive while all the others were killed? Why did Felicia have to die and not me?
It took Para’s delicate sensors mere nanoseconds to confirm its analysis. Trayvon’s heartbeat, his breathing rate, his eyeblink tempo and even the way his fingers jittered all spoke volumes. The young man was haunted by what had happened out in space on the ill-fated mission of the starship Saviour.
Trayvon and Para had climbed up the steep steps carved into the cliff face thousands of years ago, and now stood in the shade of the overhanging rock. Standing side by side at the lip of the huge niche, they turned to look down at the green fields that stretched below them out to the horizon.
“How old did you say this city is?” Trayvon asked, in his clear tenor voice.
Para accessed the history records. “At least five thousand years,” it replied. “This complex was already a thousand years old when the first Europeans reached this area.”
“And it was abandoned.”
“Yes. It had been deserted for at least several hundred years when the first Spanish explorers reached this far.”
Tray nodded, then turned back and looked into the gigantic niche in the cliff’s stone face. A city of two-and three-story adobe structures spread across the alcove in the rock wall for hundreds of meters: silent, empty except for the two of them—and the ghosts of the past.
“The builders created all this and then they just walked away from it,” Tray said, as much to himself as to Para.
“They were driven away,” his android guardian replied, “by climate shift. The natives moved down into the basin below, to better-watered lands where they could grow their crops.”
“Despite their greater vulnerability to attack by hostile tribes down in the basin?”