The Gods Themselves - Isaac Asimov
“PRACTICAL POLITICS”—AND THE DEATH OF A WORLD
“Let me give you a lesson in practical politics.” Senator Burt looked at his wristwatch, leaned back and smiled. “It is a mistake,” he said, “to suppose that the public wants the environment protected or their lives saved and that they will be grateful to any idealist who will fight for such ends. What the public wants is their own individual comfort.
“Now then, young man, don’t ask me to stop the Pumping. The economy and comfort of the entire planet depend on it. Tell me, instead, how to keep the Pumping from exploding the Sun.”
Lamont said, “There is no way, Senator. We are dealing with something here that is so basic, we can’t play with it. We must stop it.”
“Ah, and you can suggest only that we go back to matters as they were before Pumping.”
“In that case, you will need hard and fast proof that you are right.”
“The best proof,” Lamont said stiffly, “is to have the Sun explode.”
Bantam Spectra Books by Isaac Asimov
The Foundation Novels
PRELUDE TO FOUNDATION
FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE
FORWARD THE FOUNDATION
The Robot Novels
THE CAVES OF STEEL
THE NAKED SUN
THE ROBOTS OF DAWN
THE GODS THEMSELVES
FANTASTIC VOYAGE II
WITH ROBERT SILVERBERG
This edition contains the complete text
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NOT ONE WORD HAS BEEN OMITTED.
THE GODS THEMSELVES
A Bantam Spectra Book / published by arrangement with Doubleday
Doubleday edition published 1972
Bantam edition / October 1990
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Portions of this novel have been previously published in Galaxy magazine (March, 1972 and May, 1972) and If magazine (April, 1972)
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© 1972 by Isaac Asimov.
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To mankind, and the hope that the war against folly may someday be won after all.
Other Books by This Author
I. Against Stupidity …
II. … The Gods Themselves …
III. … Contend in Vain?
About the Author
I. Against Stupidity …
“No good!” said Lamont, sharply. “I didn’t get anywhere.” He had a brooding look about him that went with his deep-set eyes and the slight asymmetry of his long chin. There was a brooding look about him at the best of times, and this was not the best of times. His second formal interview with Hallam had been a greater fiasco than the first.
“Don’t be dramatic,” said Myron Bronowski, placidly. “You didn’t expect to. You told me that.” He was tossing peanuts into the air and catching them in his plump-lipped mouth as they came down. He never missed. He was not very tall, not very thin.
“That doesn’t make it pleasant. But you’re right, it doesn’t matter. There are other things I can do and intend to do and, besides that, I depend on you. If you could only find out—”
“Don’t finish, Pete. I’ve heard it all before. All I have to do is decipher the thinking of a non-human intelligence.”
“A better-than-human intelligence. Those creatures from the para-Universe are trying to make themselves understood.”
“That may be,” sighed Bronowski, “but they’re trying to do it through my intelligence, which is better than human I sometimes think, but not much. Sometimes, in the dark of the night, I lie awake and wonder if different intelligences can communicate at all; or, if I’ve had a particularly bad day, whether the phrase ‘different intelligences’ has meaning at all.”
“It does,” said Lamont savagely, his hands clearly balling into fists within his lab coat pockets. “It means Hallam and me. It means that fool-hero, Dr. Frederick Hallam and me. We’re different intelligences because when I talk to him he doesn’t understand. His idiot face gets redder and his eyes bulge and his ears block. I’d say his mind stops functioning, but I lack the proof of any other state from which it might stop.”
Bronowski murmured, “What a way to speak of the Father of the Electron Pump.”
“That’s it. Reputed Father of the Electron Pump. A bastard birth, if ever there was one. His contribution was least in