The Earth was green and quiet. Nature had survived Man, and Man had survived himself. Then, one day, the great silvery ships broke the tranquillity of the skies, bringing Man's twenty-thousand-year-lost inheritance back to Earth....
kind that could twist into horrid masks for the amusement of the young. Now it just drooped.
She stirred restlessly, driven to seek sympathetic understanding.
"You wonder what it's like, Evon?" she asked.
He grunted at her quizzically and shook his head.
"To be one of the children of the Exodus, I mean," she added.
"Me? What are you thinking of, Letha?"
"Of your face. It looks suddenly like a nomad's face. You remind me of an old schnorrer who used to wander through our gardenboro every year to play his fiddle, and sing us songs, and steal our chickens."
"I don't fiddle."
"But your eyes are on the sky-fleet."
Evon paused, hovering between irritation and desire to express. "It's strange," he murmured at last. "It's as if I know them--the star-birds, I mean. Last night, when I saw them first, it was like looking at something I expected to happen ... or ... or...."
"You think he has
Several interesting concepts are presented in this story.
Are there cultural memories that pass from generation to generation? If so, what happens when two societies - with common roots in the past - encounter each other after 20,000 years of separation?
Can evolution "learn" that it is futile to go up against human technology, resulting in a perfectly human compatible garden world?
20,000 years separated the more adventurous humans who set out to conquer the stars from the timid folk who stayed behind. They are two very different cultures. Is there such a thing as a racial memory? What happens when they meet?
Another simple, well-written short story from the guy who wrote A Canticle For Liebowitz. All the characters are real.