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Adaptation   By: (1917-1983)

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Illustrated by Schoenherr

When a man has a great deal of knowledge, it becomes extremely easy for him to confuse "knowledge" with "wisdom" ... and forget that the antonym of "wisdom" is not "ignorance" but "folly."


Hardly had man solved his basic problems on the planet of his origin than he began to fumble into space. Barely a century had elapsed in the exploration of the Solar System than he began to grope for the stars.

And suddenly, with an all but religious zeal, mankind conceived its fantasy dream of populating the galaxy. Never in the history of the race had fervor reached such a peak and held so long. The question of why was seemingly ignored. Millions of Earth type planets beckoned and with a lemming like desperation humanity erupted into them.

But the obstacles were frightening in their magnitude. The planets and satellites of Sol had proven comparatively tractable and those that were suited to man life were quickly brought under his dominion. But there, of course, he had the advantage of proximity. The time involved in running back and forth to the home planet was meaningless and all Earth's resources could be thrown into each problem's solving.

But a planet a year removed in transportation or even communication? Ay! this was another thing and more than once a million colonists were lost before the Earthlings could adapt to new climates, new flora and fauna, new bacteria or to factors which the most far out visionary had never fancied, perhaps the lack of something never before missed.

So, mad with the lust to seed the universe with his kind, men sought new methods. To a hundred thousand worlds they sent smaller colonies, as few as a hundred pioneers apiece, and there marooned them, to adapt, if adapt they could.

For a millennium each colony was left to its own resources, to conquer the environment or to perish in the effort.

A thousand years was sufficient. Invariably it was found, on those planets where human life survived at all, man slipped back during his first two or three centuries into a state of barbarism. Then slowly began to inch forward again. There were exceptions and the progress on one planet never exactly duplicated that on another, however the average was surprisingly close to both nadir and zenith, in terms of evolution of society.

In a thousand years it was deemed by the Office of Galactic Colonization such pioneers had largely adjusted to the new environment and were ready for civilization, industrialization and eventual assimilation into the rapidly evolving Galactic Commonwealth.

Of course, even from the beginning, new and unforeseen problems manifested themselves ...

from "Man In Antiquity" published in Terra City, Sol Galactic Year 3,502.


The Co ordinator said, "I suppose I'm an incurable romantic. You see, I hate to see you go." Academician Amschel Mayer was a man in early middle years; Dr. Leonid Plekhanov, his contemporary. They offset one another; Mayer thin and high pitched, his colleague heavy, slow and dour. Now they both showed their puzzlement.

The Co ordinator added, "Without me."

Plekhanov kept his massive face blank. It wasn't for him to be impatient with his superior. Nevertheless, the ship was waiting, stocked and crewed.

Amschel Mayer said, "Certainly a last minute chat can't harm." Inwardly he realized the other man's position. Here was a dream coming true, and Mayer and his fellows were the last thread that held the Co ordinator's control over the dream. When they left, half a century would pass before he could again check developments.

The Co ordinator became more businesslike. "Yes," he said, "but I have more in mind than a chat. Very briefly, I wish to go over your assignment... Continue reading book >>

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