Publication date: February 2012
Digital Book format: PDF (Adobe DRM)
Webb Foster built a laboratory at the edge of the solar system to be left alone to do his work, however the Planetary Council still came calling... Excerpt Webb Foster was the greatest scientist in all the solar system. This, at least, had been the consensus of opinion at the last assemblage of the planets. Webb, however, had protested the accolade and offered Ku-mer of Mars in nomination for the coveted honor. But Ku-mer received only two votes--his own and that of Webb Foster. Whereupon, with Martian blandness, he had retired from the conclave and left an undisputed field to his generous rival. Webb Foster was sincerely sorry for him. He knew the proud sensitivity of the Martians, beneath their outward armor of indifference, and he tried to find Ku-mer after the members of the quinquennial meeting had scattered to their respective space ships. But Ku-mer was not to be found. He had vanished. Whereupon Webb, with a shrug of his shoulders, and slightly flattered withal, returned to his space laboratory. This was famous throughout the system, and the fruit of years of contriving. Webb Foster required absolute isolation and profound peace for his researches into the origin of all things, into the fine structure of space and time and matter. These desiderata could no longer be had on Earth, his native planet. Earth was a vast garden city with a population of ten billion humans. From pole to pole swift-moving platforms made an intricate network of intercommunication; underground, express monocars whined through vacuum tunnels; overhead, glistening planes darted along aerial traffic lanes; while from a thousand rocket ports great space liners took off for Mars, Venus, the Moon, and far-off Callisto, capital of the Jovian hegemony. A scientist, brooding on the very fundamentals, the ground plan of the universe, could find no peace on Earth.