City at World’s End by Edmond HamiltonSeptember 9, 2011
The Book: City at World’s End by Edmond Hamilton. Originally published in 1951, the edition read was published by Crest in 1957.
The Setting: Middle America in the present. A distant future Earth. A distant future distant plant. All over the place, I guess.
The Story: A small city, which could be any small city, is blasted off the face of the earth in some sort of next generation bomb attack and ends up on a dying Earth in the far future. And the Federation of Stars wants to move them to some other planet that’s not dying. The nerve!
The Science: The earth they find is cold, with a larger red sun. This suggests that the sun is entering its red giant phase, during which the Earth will be destroyed, one way or the other. Either the sun will get so big it swallows up the Earth’s orbit, or the changes in the sun will a) throw the Earth’s orbit off ending in catastrophe, or b) boil away all the atmosphere and water from the Earth – also catastrophe. So it looks like the townspeople are not going to have a happy ending for very long when the Earth is tossed out into space in a half billion more years.
The Reaction: I really liked the first half of the book, when the townspeople were finding ways to survive on the dying planet. I had rather hoped that the story would continue in that direction. But no. Space people show up with their bureaucracy and handful of alien life forms. And then the book gets less interesting. Alas.
The Cover: No art credit given. ISFDB tells me it’s Richard Powers, which seems about right. It’s a good cover. Evokes the emptiness of the planet with a stream of people headed toward a domed city and a man and a woman looking over them. Also, nice rocks.
Next Up: “The Pedestrian,” by Ray Bradbury