A Maze of Stars by John Brunner

By John Brunner

Between 600 thousand stars visited by means of guy, sixty thousand have planets hospitable to lifestyles, six thousand have constructed existence and 6 hundred were settled, or seeded, with humanity. an enormous vessel, recognized easily as send, travels an never-ending direction, checking in with the entire settled planets, staring at, providing aid the place it may as a few flourish, a few falter yet all switch and evolve. by surprise, send has built emotions and intelligence and it struggles with human-like feelings because it sees the numerous ways in which guy can evolve or devolve whilst left to his personal units with the only everlasting constant—change.

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Don’t you want your work to do some good? I stood the smell hanging around Oiseau-Lyre as long as possible. The Hills are supposed to be separate and independent economic units; actually they’re shipments and expense padding and doctored tax returns. It goes deeper than that. You know the Hill slogan: SERVICE IS GOOD AND BETTER SERVICE IS BEST. That’s a laugh! You think the Hills care about serving anybody? ” “I never imagined the Hills were philanthropic organizations,” Wakeman said dryly. Benteley moved restlessly away from the two of them; they were watching him as if he were a public entertainer.

Cartwright heard the words, but they didn’t register. He was vaguely aware that Wakeman had come into the lounge and was moving up to Moore. The two of them walked away talking in low tones. He hardly heard them. Like a frigid nightmare, the phrase “a million gold dollars” dripped and leaked into his brain. There’d be plenty of takers. With that much money an unk could buy a variety of classifications on the black market. The best minds in the system would gamble their lives for that, in a society that was a constant gamble, an unceasing lottery.

Nothing seemed stable or fixed; the universe was a sliding flux. Nobody knew what came next. Nobody could count on anything. Statistical prediction became popular … the very concept of cause and effect died out. People lost faith in the belief that they could control their environment; all that remained was probable sequence: good odds in a universe of random chance. The theory of Minimax—the M-game—was a kind of stoic withdrawal, a nonparticipation in the aimless swirl in which people struggled.

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