Adaptation

 by Mack Reynolds


Adaptation by Mack Reynolds book cover
Price: £2.29
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When a man has a great deal of knowledge, it becomes extremely easy for him to confuse "knowledge" with "wisdom" ... and forget that the antonym of "wisdom" is not "ignorant" but "folly."

Forward:

Hardly had man solved his basic problems on the planet of his origin than he began to jumble into space. Barely a century had elapsed in the exploration of the Solar System than he began to grope for the stars.And suddenly, with an all but religious zeal, mankind conceived its fantasy dream of populating the galaxy, Never in the history of the race had fervor reached such a peak and held so long. The question of why was seemingly ignored. Millions of Earth-t)pe planets beckoned and with a lemming-like desperation humanity erupted into them.

But the obstacles were frightening in their magnitude. The planets and satellites of Sol had proven comparatively tractable and those that were suited to man-life were quickly brought under his dominion. But there, of course, he had the advantage of proximity. The time involved in running back and forth to the home planet was meaningless and all Earth's resources could be thrown into each problem's solving.

But a planet a year removed in transportation or even communication? Ay! this was another thing and more than once a million colonists were lost before the Earthlings could adapt to new climates, new flora and fauna, new bacteria-or to factors which the most far out visionary had never fancied, perhaps the lack of something never before missed.

So, mad with the lust to seed the universe with his kind, men sought new methods. To a hundred thousand worlds they sent smaller colonies, as few as a hundred pioneers apiece, and there marooned them, to adapt, if adapt they could.

For a millennium each colony was left to its own resources, to conquer the environment or to perish in the effort.

A thousand years was sufficient. Invariably it was found, on those planets where human life survived at all, man slipped back during his first two or three centuries into a state of barbarism. Then slowly began to inch forward again. There were exceptions and the progress on one planet never exactly duplicated that on another, however the average ivas surprisingly close to both nadir and zenith, in terms of evolution of society.

In a thousand years it was deemed by the Office of Galactic Colonization such pioneers had largely adjusted to the new environment and were ready for civilization, industrialization and eventual assimilation into the rapidly evolving Galactic Commonwealth.

 

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