Learning the World: A Scientific Romance

Front Cover
Macmillan, 2005 - Fiction - 303 pages
8 Reviews
Humanity has spread to every star within 500 light-years of its half-forgotten origin, coloring the sky with a haze of habitats. Societies rise and fall. Incautious experiments burn fast and fade. On the fringes, less modified humans get on with the job of settling a universe that has, so far, been empty of intelligent life.

The ancient starship But the Sky, My Lady! The Sky! is entering orbit around a promising new system after a four hundred year journey. For its long-lived inhabitants, the centuries have been busy. Now a younger generation is eager to settle the system. The ship is a seed-pod ready to burst.

Then they detect curious electromagnetic emissions from the system's Earth-like world. As the nature of the signals becomes clear, the choices facing the humans become stark.

On Ground, second world from the sun, a young astronomer searches for his system's outermost planet. A moving point of light thrills, then disappoints him. It's only a comet. His physicist colleague Orro takes time off from trying to invent a flying-machine to calculate the comet's trajectory. Something is very odd about that comet's path.

They are not the only ones for whom the world has changed.

"We are not living in the universe we thought we lived in yesterday. We have to start learning the world all over again."

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TheDivineOomba - LibraryThing

A wonderful book that balances the advancing human civilization with an alien species that is just starting its industrial revolution. We see the questions asked by the humans on how to approach the ... Read full review

LEARNING THE WORLD: Or, A Scientific Romance

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

In the distant future, bio-modified human colonists blaze a trail to a new planet, whose inhabitants wonder what that new star in the sky is.MacLeod (Engine City, 2002, etc.) gives a fresh look at one ... Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Ken MacLeod holds a degree in zoology and has worked in the fields of biomechanics and computer programming. His first two novels, The Star Fraction and The Stone Canal, each won the Prometheus Award; The Cassini Division was a finalist for the Nebula Award; and The Sky Road won the British Science Fiction Association Award and was a finalist for the Hugo Award, as were his next two novels, Cosmonaut Keep and Dark Light. His most recent novel is Newton's Wake. Ken MacLeod lives near Edinburgh, Scotland, with his wife and children.

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