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Among the Stars G. David Nordley A double planet with a mind of its own wants you Join noted hard science fiction author G David Nordley Among the Stars in this collection of his stories previously published in Analog and Asimov s science fiction magazines A world where down is out needs help from below, and an ancient monarch is challenged to save the galaxy, and FROM THE AUTHOR AmonA double planet with a mind of its own wants you Join noted hard science fiction author G David Nordley Among the Stars in this collection of his stories previously published in Analog and Asimov s science fiction magazines A world where down is out needs help from below, and an ancient monarch is challenged to save the galaxy, and FROM THE AUTHOR Among the Stars is the first of several new collections in Variations on a Theme s project to make my backlist available in modern print and electronic media, joining To Climb a Flat Mountain, The Black Hole Project, and After the Vikings already in print These stories comprise most of my interstellar short fiction as of 2013 They range from a story of the realities of family separation with first interstellar colony to a very far future in which beings who are human only in their memories but determinedly so and who range across intergalactic space committing random acts of kindness Following the stories are Story Notes with some background information on each story Time An ancient gold watch sits on the rough hewn wooden table in my log cabin on an island on a lake a hundred miles walk from nowhereville on a planet around a nondescript M1 star in a galaxy now a hundred million light years from home Home was Haven, the terraformed moon of a planet locally called Hell, then just over eight light years from ancestral Earth I d had cousins that lived in the ancestral Sol system How young I was then, how young the human race was I wind the watch up every century and let it run for a week or so Perhaps someday it will no longer run Perhaps someday I will be free Hell Orbit The great blue disk and ultraviolet arms of the majestic Whirlpool galaxy filled David Martin s field of view He scanned for polarization by strong, extensive, magnetic fields There An evolved neutron star not a lopsided pulsar with a bumpy field whipping around, but a near classic dipole with an ion wind streaming out of its poles The field should, he determined, be well organized, with hundreds of Tesla out to megameters from the relatively tiny thirty kilometer sphere at its center a featherbed entry Orienting the superconducting loops in every nanocell of his body, he tacked against the faint plasma breeze of the galaxy s central black hole, gradually bending his path toward his chosen decelerator His pattern recognition codes latched onto a memory of air pillow diving with Ellen from a hundred million years ago, and he re experienced the undiminished thrill of defying his youthful fear of heights Ten thousand light years out from the star he woke his wife, and suggested a reprise She gleefully concurred, so they willed their nanocells to take human form again, for the first time in ten million years Trillions of submicroscopic hexagonal toroids arranged themselves to emulate skin, hair, flesh and bone optical data links carefully arranged themselves to simulate nerves and glands Most of a billion years of experience was set carefully aside from conscious thought so that they could enjoy real universe sensation again Ellen laughed joyfully, surrounding him with legs and arms, devouring him with kisses as they tumbled through the void, delighting to join one another as if they had not been one undifferentiated physical being just a few moments before The Touch
Among the Stars G. David Nordley