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Forge of the Elders L. Neil Smith
In this imaginative work, there are parallel
universes which are only mutually accessible with great difficulty and
at great cost of energy and resources.
Earth is ruled by socialist
oligarchies , America is subordinate to Russia but still has
nationalistic aspirations. In both the KGB has great power, undercover
agents are everywhere and no-one trusts their neighbours. An expedition
to an asteroid sends many politically dubious people into exile ; there
they encounter creatures evolved from many different biological
roots, such as intelligent snakes, dogs, nautiloids and aviforms. All
are members of a capitalist society dominated by the nautiloids, which
have been civilised and intelligent for millioins of years. There are
people who were inhabitants of the Antarctic continent
thousands of years ago, and are the survivors of what we remember as
Atlantis in legend. One at least is still alive and apparently
immortal, as are the nautiloids themselves, and all are members of a
trans - reality expedition from a parallel universe where they have an
extremely advanced technology and civilization
They are searching for artifacts left by their
preceders, known as The Elders.; it seems the whole asteroid is
artificial, a construct, and when they find and awaken a machine left
behind by those Elders, it warns them of a great threat to all life ,
dormant in the Oort Cloud , which is now awaking. The asteroid is a
spacecraft of enormous size and complexity, carrying many life-forms
through great expanses of time.
The interest of this book to the reader lies as much in the
detail of how the various concepts are expressed or
manifested as in the concepts themselves. Socialism, Capitalism
and politics in general are certainly not presented in a
positive light. Individual initiative and ethical behaviour are all
-important , together with courage ad compassion, it seems.