Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday Excerpt: Looking Into Infinity

Now Playing: Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori - Halo: Combat Evolved Opening Theme

[Introduction].

My last two Monday Excerpts have been gigantic, so I decided to bring it back down this week with one of my favorite scenes in all of sci-fi. It's so influential; I'll always be thankful for this book. Science fiction wouldn't be the same without it. And., of course, we wouldn't have Halo without it~

(cover art by Stephan Martiniere for Ringworld's Children)

It stretched long miles across the white sand. In the distance, beyond where that gouge ended, another began. The ship had bounced, not once, but many times. The gouge of the Liar's landing went on and on, narrowing to no more than a dotted line, a trace. . .Louis let his eyes follow that trace, and he found himself looking into infinity. 
The Ringworld had no horizon. There was no line where the land curved away from the sky. Rather, earth and sky seemed to merge in a region where details the size of continents would have been mere points, where all colors blended gradually into the blue of sky. The vanishing point held his eyes fixed. When he blinked, as he finally did, it was with deliberate effort.
Like the void mist of Mount Linkitthat, seen decades ago and light-centuries away. . .like the undistorted deeps of space, as seen by a Belt miner in a singleship . . .the Ringworld's horizon could grip the eye and the mind of a man before he was aware of the danger. 
- Ringworld by Larry Niven

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"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.