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Starmans Quest

Starmans Quest

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Published by: dbryant0101 on Dec 22, 2008
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Starman's Quest, by Robert Silverberg
The Project Gutenberg EBook of Starman's Quest, by Robert Silverberg This eBook is for the use of anyoneanywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use itunder the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: Starman's QuestAuthor: Robert SilverbergIllustrator: Stan Mack Release Date: December 7, 2008 [EBook 27444]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ASCII*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK STARMAN'S QUEST ***Produced by Greg Weeks, Stephen Blundell and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team athttp://www.pgdp.net
Starman's Quest, by Robert Silverberg1
 
Starman's QuestBOOKS BY ROBERT SILVERBERG
Starman's Quest  Revolt on Alpha C The Thirteenth Immortal Master of Life and DeathThe Shrouded Planet 
 (with Randall Garrett)
 Invaders from Earth
Starman's Quest
by
ROBERT SILVERBERGGNOME PRESS [Device]HICKSVILLE, N. Y.Copyright 1958 by Robert Silverberg
First Edition. All Rights Reserved This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission, except for brief quotations in critical articles and reviews.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 58-8767MANUFACTURED IN THE U.S.A.Transcriber's Note:Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.Minor spelling and typographical errors have been corrected without note. Variant spellings have beenretained.
 Author's Preface
This was my second novel, which I wrote when I was 19, in my junior year at Columbia. I've written betterones since. But readers interested in the archaeology of a writing career will probably find much to explorehere.Robert Silverberg 17 May 2008
Starman's Quest, by Robert Silverberg2
 
FOR BILL EDGERTON1933-1956
Prologue
The Lexman Spacedrive was only the second most important theoretical accomplishment of the exciting yearsat the dawn of the Space Age, yet it changed all human history and forever altered the pattern of socioculturaldevelopment on Earth.Yet it was only the
 second 
 most important discovery.The Cavour Hyperdrive unquestionably would have held first rank in any historical assessment, had theCavour Hyperdrive ever reached practical use. The Lexman Spacedrive allows mankind to reach AlphaCentauri, the closest star with habitable planets, in approximately four and a half years. The CavourHyperdrive--if it ever really existed--would have brought Alpha C within virtual instantaneous access.But James Hudson Cavour had been one of those tragic men whose personalities negate the value of theirwork. A solitary, cantankerous, opinionated individual--a crank, in short--he withdrew from humanity todevelop the hyperspace drive, announcing at periodic intervals that he was approaching success.A final enigmatic bulletin in the year 2570 indicated to some that Cavour had achieved his goal or was on theverge of achieving it; others, less sympathetic, interpreted his last message as a madman's wild boast. It madelittle difference which interpretation was accepted. James Hudson Cavour was never heard from again.A hard core of passionate believers insisted that he
 had 
 developed a faster-than-light drive, that he hadsucceeded in giving mankind an instantaneous approach to the stars. But they, like Cavour himself, werelaughed down, and the stars remained distant.Distant--but not unreachable. The Lexman Spacedrive saw to that.Lexman and his associates had developed their ionic drive in 2337, after decades of research. It permitted manto approach, but not to exceed, the theoretical limiting velocity of the universe: the speed of light.Ships powered by the Lexman Spacedrive could travel at speeds just slightly less than the top velocity of 186,000 miles per second. For the first time, the stars were within man's grasp.The trip was slow. Even at such fantastic velocities as the Lexman Spacedrive allowed, it took nine years for aship to reach even the nearest of stars, stop, and return; a distant star such as Bellatrix required a journeylasting two hundred fifteen years each way. But even this was an improvement over the relatively crudespacedrives then in use, which made a journey from Earth to Pluto last for many months and one to the starsalmost unthinkable.The Lexman Spacedrive worked many changes. It gave man the stars. It brought strange creatures to Earth,strange products, strange languages.But one necessary factor was involved in slower-than-light interstellar travel, one which the Cavour drivewould have averted: the Fitzgerald Contraction. Time aboard the great starships that lanced through the voidwas contracted; the nine-year trip to Alpha Centauri and back seemed to last only six weeks to the men on theship, thanks to the strange mathematical effects of interstellar travel at high--but not infinite--speeds.
Starman's Quest, by Robert Silverberg3

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