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NOTE: this is the original short story. For the full length novel, see the link below.
There has always been, and will always be, the problem of surviving the experience that any trained expert can handle…when there hasn’t been any first survivor to be an expert! When no one has ever gotten back to explain what happened…
It is essentially in three overlapping parts:
Five years after publication, Smith expanded on the story releasing the full length novel, Subspace Explorers.
56 pages, with a reading time of ~1.0 hour (14,000 words), and first published in 1960. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, 2009.
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“All passengers, will you pay attention, please?”
All the high–fidelity speakers of the starship Procyon spoke as one, in the skillfully–modulated voice of the trained announcer. “This is the fourth and last cautionary announcement. Any who are not seated will seat themselves at once. Prepare for take–off acceleration of one and one–half gravities; that is, everyone will weigh one–half again as much as his normal Earth weight for about fifteen minutes. We lift in twenty seconds; I will count down the final five seconds… Five… Four… Three… Two… One… Lift!”
The immense vessel rose from her berth; slowly at first, but with ever–increasing velocity; and in the main lounge, where many of the passengers had gathered to watch the dwindling Earth, no one moved for the first five minutes. Then a girl stood up.
She was not a startlingly beautiful girl; no more so than can be seen fairly often, of a summer afternoon, on Seaside Beach. Her hair was an artificial yellow. Her eyes were a deep, cool blue. Her skin, what could be seen of it—she was wearing breeches and a long–sleeved shirt—was lightly tanned. She was only about five–feet–three, and her build was not spectacular. However, every ounce of her one hundred fifteen pounds was exactly where it should have been.