Saturn's Race

Saturn's Race

Book - 2000
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ISBN: 0312867263 TITLE: Saturn''s Race AUTHOR: Niven, Larry; Barnes, Steven EXCERPT: 1June The sun had fled the sky hours ago, and with it, Xanadu''s winged children. Before it dipped beneath Bombay''s horizon, a thousand kilometers to the east, Lenore Myles had taken one last dive from the central tower. She trusted her reflexes and balance less than the central computer that kept her and a dozen others dancing on the thermals.One long, perfect arc followed another, swooping out to the breakwaters, a kilometer distant from Xanadu''s core. Sensors at the edge of her hang-glider''s batwing read winds and temperatures, coordinated their data with weather satellites sensitive enough to detect a gust of warm breath. Slowly she began the return journey, high above the ring of orchards and gardens, the beaches and ponds, the flowered parks of the floating island called Xanadu.The roofed, tiered hexagons extending from the central tower were each about two hundred meters in diameter. Eight concentric rings, rising toward the center, afforded four million square meters of potential landing room. She had sufficient lift to make it to a little park, four rings out from the central tower.A pair of late picnickers applauded delightedly.Even encumbered by artificial wings, Lenore managed to bow. The couple, an Asian woman and a man with a British sergeant-major''s mustache, were all smiles. ``UC Berkeley?'''' the woman asked.``Los Angeles,'''' Lenore replied. She shrugged out of the wings and gazed out over the rooftops, down toward the parklands below. Her fellow students were beginning to cluster down there. With the setting of the sun, festivities would begin. She glanced at her watch: just time to take a shower, change, and get down there for the party.She triggered her rented hang-glider''s pickup beacon and waved good-bye to the couple, who had returned to their cheese and wine. Probably waiting for moonrise, she mused. Tropical breezes, perfect weather....A night for romance, and adventure. She felt loose and tingly all over. Adventure''s promise had been kept, and the aftertaste was delicious.Stars and a crescent moon silvered a restless ocean. At the rim of Xanadu''s southwest lagoon, eight hundred of the UCLA science department''s most recent graduates sipped champagne or sparkling fruit juice. Just beyond the breakwater, impossible human shapes walked upon black and silver waves and offered the Council''s greeting.``Welcome to Xanadu,'''' a titanic blond woman roared. ``Your minds and hearts are the hope of the world. Today your path of intellectual achievement has reached a crossroads.'''' Her words echoed among Xanadu''s towers. ``Albert Einstein said, `We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.'' Contrast this with the words of French philosopher Michel Foucault: `The work of an intellectual is not to mold the political will of others....'' ''''Lenore debarked from one of the little robot carts and found a waiter with a tray of champagne glasses. The reception was jumping by now, covering one of the promenades between the outer breakwater and the containment ponds, vast arcs of water extending beyond the central ring of floating hexagons. Here parks and playgrounds swarmed with parents and children. A little farther out, fruit trees provided a lilt of citrus on the night breeze.She searched the crowd as she sipped, looking for a particular friendly face. She barely noticed the special effects show, although many of the other graduates gawked. Through some optical trick, the titanic blonde seemed to make intimate eye contact with each individual. ``Who shall lead us to the future, if not the pride of our universities? And what tool will blaze your way, if not intellect? We salute you: your hearts, which brim with courage and commitment, your bodies, so strong and filled with the promise of youth, and most especially your minds, which this day have fulfilled your academic poten
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2000
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780312867263
0312867263
Characteristics: 317 p. ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Barnes, Steven 1952-

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