by Isaac Asimov
By 2236 AM, humankind has spread its settlements
throughout the inner system. Earth, home of eight billion and 99% of all
population, is being left behind in the astronomic sciences and is seen
as dirty, crowded, and undesirable.
Crile Fisher is sent by Earth to learn the secrets of the recently developed light-speed ship at Rotor. As part of his efforts to unearth the secrets, he marries Eugenia Insignia, an astrophysicist for the Rotor settlement. They have a daughter, Marlene.
Rotor is headed by the forceful Janus Pitt, who interprets recent discoveries as a means to achieve his goal of creating a completely dominant role for Rotor.
Eugenia Insignia has discovered a red dwarf jut two light years from Earth, obscured by a dust cloud, so that no other astronomers had noticed the dimmed star.
Janus Pitts leads his colony there and hides from Earth - both their location and the fact that Nemesis is heading for a collision with our solar system in 5,000 years.
Interesting points: On Erythro, an Earth-like planet orbiting
Nemesis, a simple life form is everywhere. It was discovered that taken
all together, the life forms had a collective intelligence. Asimov successfully
puts forth issues that relate to our predilection for believing that evolution
must precede up the complexity scale.
The manner in which Marlene was treated by the other characters was not believable to me. She had the ability to discern people's intentions and beliefs from their body language. No problem there, but when she claimed that there was no danger for her on the planet, I couldn't believe the ease at which the others took that as gospel truth. I mean, really - youngsters always feel invincible.
Asimov smoothly melded two threads of the story that involved switching viewpoint, time, and location.
I noticed that quite regularly Asimov did not setup scenes in a play-like fashion. He'd switch from thoughts to dialogue to reminisces and back to action with a smoothness that was admirable.