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The Year When Stardust Fell   By: (1915-1994)

The Year When Stardust Fell by Raymond F. Jones

First Page:

The Year When Stardust Fell

A Science Fiction Novel

By Raymond F. Jones

[Transcriber note: Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

Jacket Design by James Heugh Endpaper Design by Alex Schomburg

Cecile Matschat, Editor Carl Carmer, Consulting Editor

THE JOHN C. WINSTON COMPANY Philadelphia, Toronto

Copyright, 1958 By Raymond F. Jones

FIRST EDITION

Made in the United States of America

To Laura Lee

Contents

Of Men of Science

1. The Comet

2. Breakdown

3. Power Failure

4. Disaster Spreads

5. Thief

6. The Scientist

7. Dust from the Stars

8. Attack

9. Judgment

10. Victory of the Dust

11. The Animals Are Sick

12. Decontamination

13. Stay Out of Town!

14. Mobilization

15. Battle

16. Black Victory

17. Balance of Nature

18. Witchcraft

19. Conquest of the Comet

20. Reconstruction

About the Author

Of Men of Science

The story of man is the story endlessly repeated of a struggle: between light and darkness, between knowledge and ignorance, between good and evil, between men who would build and men who would destroy. It is no more complicated than this.

That light, knowledge, good, and constructive men have had a small edge in this struggle is attested to by our slow rise over the long millennia of time. In taking stock of our successes, however, it is easy to assume the victory has been won. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a contest that is never ended, nor can it be, as long as men are upon the Earth.

While man has free choice, the elements of darkness, ignorance, evil and destruction are available for him to choose, and there are times when these seem the best alternatives.

At the end of the 18th century one of the greatest minds of all time was destroyed by one stroke of a guillotine blade. The judge who presided at the trial of the great French chemist Lavoisier is reported to have said, "The Republic has no need of men of science."

Choices like this have often been made by the society of man. A turnoff to darkness has been deliberately taken, superstition has been embraced while knowledge has been destroyed.

When times are placid we assume such choices could result only from some great insanity; that the men who made them had themselves known more pleasant days. The truth is that there are extremes of circumstance which could force almost any man to abandon that which he has always held to be right and good, and only the very giants could stand up and prove themselves unmoved.

Such giants may seem, in ordinary life, rather obscure. Illustrating this are the people in this story: a somewhat pompous little mayor; a professor of chemistry in a small town college in the mountain west; a minister of the gospel, who would be lost with a big city congregation; a sheriff who doesn't care what happens to him personally as long as he sticks to the kind of rightness that has always worked; and a high school boy who learns what it means to do a man's work.

Such people are important, the most important people alive today. They are the ones whose hands hold all that our culture has achieved when catastrophe overtakes us.

The illusion of security is a vicious one. With physical comforts around us, the abyss that is just beyond our walls is forgotten: the abyss of outer space, beyond the paper thin atmosphere shielding us; of the fires in the earth beneath; of the hurricane winds beyond the horizon; of the evil and insanity in the minds of many men.

The caveman dared not forget these abysses, nor the frontiersman, nor the scientist who fought the witch hunters to bring forth a new truth of Nature. But when we believe we are secure we do forget them.

In catastrophe, the most recent achievements of the race are the first to go... Continue reading book >>




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