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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books

Universe
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Last Updated: valashain

Universe

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Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Publisher: Dell Publishing, 1951
Street & Smith Publications, Inc., 1941
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Book Type: Novelette
Genre: Science-Fiction
Sub-Genre Tags: Space Exploration
Pulp
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Synopsis

This novelette was combined with its sequel, "Common Sense", to form "Orphans of the Sky" in 1963.

The gigantic, cylindrical generation ship Vanguard, originally destined for "Far Centaurus", is cruising without guidance through the interstellar medium as a result of a long-ago mutiny that killed most of the officers. Over time, the descendants of the surviving loyal crew have forgotten the purpose and nature of their ship and lapsed into a pre-technological culture marked by superstition. They come to believe the "Ship" is the entire universe, so that "To move the ship" is considered an oxymoron, and references to the Ship's "voyage" are interpreted as religious metaphor. They are ruled by an oligarchy of "officers" and "scientists". Most crew members are simple illiterate farmers, seldom or never venturing to the "upper decks" where the "muties" (an abbreviation of "mutants" or "mutineers") dwell. Among the crew, all identifiable mutants are killed at birth.


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