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Collision Course

Collision Course

Robert Silverberg
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1156 kb
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1955 kb
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4.1 of 5
Tor Books; Reprint edition (October 1, 1988)
Science Fiction
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After four centuries of space travel Man was supreme. human civilization had spread to hundreds of planets, and never, *never* had the colonists found a trace of another intelligent species. Humanity was alone, with the entire galaxy at their command. And then the unthinkable happened. An experimental ship, probing far beyond Earth's most distant outposts, discovered a new colony -- and the colonists were not human. An alien empire was advancing inexorably on Earth. Imperial Norgla believed they were alone in the galaxy, and that all the stars were *theirs* to claim. Earth and Norgla would have to compromise -- or both would be destroyed.
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2 Reviews
  • Earth has expanded to the stars, colonizing planets left and right and traveling via "transmat" teleportation. However, someone has to first reach a planet "the slow way" via spaceship to set up the transmat device. When a faster than light ship is invented, the Technarch is excited that now even other galaxies are within reach. Unfortunately, the first test run encounters a race of aliens who are also colonizing outward, with the expanding spheres on a collision course for each other. A group of diplomats is sent to negotiate a treaty with the aliens with extremely unexpected results. What they find will challenge the firmly held idea of Earth's manifest destiny.
    Big ideas are crammed into this short novel with much being made of the pride and arrogance of men, the cossetted and coddled elite who think a 17 hour journey of thousands of light years is interminably long, and how even the most rational and intelligent men can be led to prayer in a helpless situation. Silverberg has created characters mostly to advance these views: The Skeptic, The Diplomat, The Power Player, The Warmonger, The Religious Nut, etc. but you can't fault him for it since they do their jobs so well. The technology is somewhat taken for granted, and not unforseeable, given this was written in 1958. Today, it is much harder to believe these traveling devices will be forthcoming. That makes me sad, but it is pleasing to remember a time when we thought the stars would soon be forthcoming.

  • Collision Course is a captivating short (under 200 pages) novel by Robert Silverberg. According to Silverberg's introduction in the book, it was written in November 1958 and was first published in Amazing Stories, which at the time published short novels complete in one issue. In 1961, Ace Books published a paperback edition, which is the edition I have had on my book shelves for many years waiting to be read. In the year 2780 Earthlings had just developed a faster-than-light space vessel that had carried humans out of our solar system for the first time. The crew of that successful voyage of over ninety-eight hundred light-years discovered aliens for the first time. In addition, these aliens were colonizing planets, just as Earthlings planned to do. The Archonate, which consists of thirteen men who rule Earth and her network of dependent worlds, sends a team of envoys to negotiate a treaty defining which planets the Earth could colonize and which planets the aliens (Norglans) could colonize. Unfortunately, those negotiations do not go well for Earth, and it appears that a war between Earth and Norglan is inevitable. However, on their way back to Earth, the envoys discover that there is more to worry about then the unique and threatening Norglans. In addition, both the governments of Earth and Norglan are revealed to be unrighteous. However, each of the characters in the human team of negotiators and their flight crew are presented in a very personal and interesting way as they struggle with each other and with the aliens. I respected them, and even liked them. I was totally surprised by how much I liked this novel. I should have read it long ago, and I especially recommend it for any science fiction fan.