A Choice of Gods
Clifford D. Simak
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A handful of humans and a multitude of robots create a new society on a mysteriously abandoned Earth in this breathtaking science fiction classic from one of the genre’s acknowledged masters
What if you woke up one morning on Earth . . . and no one else was there?
That is the reality that greeted a handful of humans, including Jason Whitney, his wife Martha, and the remnants of a tribe of Native Americans in the year 2135. Their inexplicable abandonment had unexpected benefits: the eventual development of mental telepathy and other extrasensory powers, inner peace, and best of all, near-immortality. Now, five thousand years later, most of the remaining humans live a tranquil, pastoral life, leaving technological and religious exploration to the masses of robot servants who no longer have humans to serve. But the unexpected reappearance of Jason’s brother, who had teleported to the stars many years before, threatens to change everything yet again—for John Whitney is the bearer of startling information about where Earth’s population went and why—and the most disturbing news of all: They may finally be coming home again.
Nominated for the Hugo Award when it first appeared in print more than forty years ago, Clifford D. Simak’s brilliant and thought-provoking A Choice of Gods has lost nothing of its power to astonish and intrigue. A masterwork of speculative fiction, intelligent and ingenious, it is classic Simak, standing tall among the very best science fiction that has ever been written.
they managed to sift among the stars until they found, and identified, the old ancestral sun. And they have the ships to get here. They’ve gone to many other, nearby suns, exploring and exploiting.” “It may take them awhile to get here,” Jason said. “We’ll have some time to figure out what should be done.” John shook his head. “Not with the kind of ships they have, traveling many times the speed of light. The survey ship had been a year on its way when I found out about it. It could be here
it over interminably among themselves. There was nothing wrong in it, of course. There was nothing that one had any wish to hide. But their obsession with every little detail of the human world sometimes was disconcerting. “I,” said Hezekiah, “share your great concern.” “How is that?” Jason asked, surprised. “I understand how you must feel,” the robot told him. “Perhaps not all the others, out among the stars. But you and Miss Martha, certainly the two of you …” “Not only us,” said Jason.
of course. Martha kept up a running conversation with others of the clan and when they sat on the patio to hear the nightly concert, she would fill him in on what had been said that day. But mostly it was woman talk and nothing to put down. A narrow shaft of morning sun, slotted through the slit where the heavy drapes at one of the tall windows failed to come together, fell across him, lighting up the gray hair and the square and solid shoulders. He was a tall man, thin, but with a sense of
here and what about the Indians? Of all of us, they may be the most important segment of the human race.” John chuckled. “The Indians will get along all right. They’ve developed the most solid basis of any of us. They’ve made a compact with the planet. They’ve become a part of it.” “I hope,” said Jason, “you are right.” They sat in silence, the fire flickering in the grate, the chimney making sighing noises. The wind plucked at the eaves and in the stillness of the night the old house moaned
satisfaction from our observations, achieving minor triumphs when we are able to reach some solid understanding. Knowing is the goal, not the using. We aren’t users. We have somehow risen above using. We can rest content to see resources lying idle; we might even think it shameful to try to use or harness them. And it’s not only resources; it’s ideas and …” “How much do you remember, Jason? How much, really, from the old days? Not how our tribe found your people, but all the rest of it.” “I