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Strange adventures on other worlds, the universe of the future.

—motto of Planet Comics

Why do we need tales about
"Strange adventures on other worlds,
the universe of the future"?

T.K.F. Weisskopf 

* * *

A voice, as bad as Conscience, rang
interminable changes
In one everlasting Whisper day and night
"Something hidden. Go and find it.
Go and look behind the Ranges—
Something lost behind the Ranges.
Lost and waiting for you. Go!" 

—from "The Explorer" by Rudyard Kipling

* * *

In the previous volume of Cosmic Tales, Adventures in Sol System, I tried to show why we need stories about the near future: to inspire us to get our butts off this planet. In this volume, I share with you stories about what happens when we escape the Sun's pull and explore the galaxy, fulfilling our destiny. These are stories of those possible futures where destiny becomes reality.

Humans need tales of adventure and exploration. We want to see what's beyond the next hill. We have an urge to "seek out new life and new civilizations," if I may borrow from the introduction to Star Trek. I think it's one of sf's jobs to encourage that urge, to expand our minds to include the possibilities of the strange and weird. Early in the history of the novel, all that was necessary to distance the reader and put him into a strange different culture was to set a novel in Spain, or Transylvania. Back when sf was getting its start in the early part of the twentieth century the world was already beginning to shrink. It was soon no longer possible to find strange new civilizations in darkest Africa or encounter hidden treasures and pagan princesses in the deepest jungles of South America, let alone the edges of Europe. We'd been everywhere. And it's only gotten worse with the onset of global positioning systems, jet airliners, communications satellites, cell phones, and long-life batteries that can power a laptop anywhere. There is very little an adventurer can discover, though much that can be revealed to a dedicated tourist.

This book is for adventurers.

It's possible to find adventure in the past, but even the Dark Ages aren't so dark anymore now that legions of dedicated Ph.D. seekers have analyzed every remaining fragment of literature and every surviving civil and legal record. The past has been largely drained of its romance. Who is going to write another Scaramouche, now that it has been done? Life will always be a mystery, and there are many stories left to tell about Earth and its future. But for thrilling adventure stories, full of wonder and new experiences, we have to look further out. We have to explore and colonize new planets.

The expansion into near space will be work, hard work. But in the far future, we, and the authors of the tales included here, can have fun. We hope you will, too.

* * *

If you'd like to see more Cosmic Tales or to comment on this volume or its predecessor, Cosmic Tales: Adventures in Sol System, write to me care of Baen Books, P.O. Box 1403, Riverdale, NY 10471. Or you can write directly to me at

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