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Cradle of Saturn
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Summary

Earth has become comfortable and complacent. The military threats that once spurred technological development aren’t really credible anymore. Who wants to put capital into risky deep-space ventures when safe and secure profits can be made closer to home? Institutionalized Science reaffirms the message of stability and security in a universe of gradual, uneventful, evolutionary change governed by laws that are immutable and understood.

Landen Keene, however, is one of the restless few who feels that humanity and its civilization were meant for better things. A nuclear propulsion engineer who has been battling against government and industry for years for meaningful expansion into space, he becomes a natural ally of the Kronian migrants, who have established an outpost culture among Saturn’s moons to live by their own value system that rewards merit and cooperative enterprise. Rediscovering science as the open pursuit of knowledge raises questions impermissible under the closed-minded defense of established doctrines that dominates thinking on Earth. What brought about changes in the terrestrial environment that would make the existence of dinosaurs impossible today? Why must conventional Ice-Age chronology be wrong? Who were the people who wrote and used artifacts long before civilizations were supposed to have existed, and how could they have lived beneath the alien sky that their records depict? Finally, the Kronians send a mission to Earth with evidence of violent Solar System upheavals occurring through into recorded human history, joining with Keene and his associates in warning that the human race is vulnerable as long as it remains concentrated in one place. But the suggestion is dismissed, ridiculed, misrepresented, assailed by fabrication . . . until, with the ejection from Jupiter of the white-hot protoplanet Athena, a catastrophe that came close to wiping out the human race once before happens again.

And with the world that we know ending around him, Keene has to choose between escaping with the Kronians to their last ship waiting in orbit, or leading a desperate band on a cross-continental journey against hopeless odds for their one chance of surviving— and to find a woman he didn’t even realize he cared about, who might not even be alive.

 
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