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THE CURRENTS OF SPACE
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|ex-ChUSFA: stamp on first inside page, page 85. MORE INFO|
Spine, sides reinforced with 2" non-yellowing library tape; another stamp on top page-block, and bookstore-stamp inside cover.
The cover art by Kelly Freas is my favorite illustration for this book.
The Currents of Space, a novel by Isaac Asimov (1952.) Originally serialized in Astounding October to December 1952. Here's the flap-copy from a hardcover, which gives a reasonable summary or set-up:
High in their fortified city, protected by brutal mercenaries, the Sarkites live in magnificent luxury. Below them, in the eternal Spring of Florina, "the most beautiful planet in the Galaxy," the native Florinians labor ceaselessly in dire poverty to produce the precious kyrt fiber that brings wealth to their masters, the Squires of Sark.
Revolt is impossible. Under the total domination of the Sarkites, Florina has lost even the concept of freedom. The smallest sign of resistance to Sarkite rule brings immediate death.
If there is any hope for the Florinians, it lies with the Trantorian Empire, whose grand scheme it is to unite all humanity in peace, prosperity and freedom under its benign rulership. But the Empire cannot move against the Squires of Sark for fear of disrupting the kyrt trade. Should the flow of kyrt cease, many planets would rise in armed rebellion against the Empire. The price - civil war - is too great. The liberation of Florina will have to wait... perhaps forever.
Suddenly there comes a cryptic warning from space. "Florina is doomed ... the Galaxy is endangered ... everyone on Florina will die .. .the Currents of Space are bringing destruction." The threat is too bizarre to believe, too frightening to ignore. If the warning is true, the planet can be evacuated, but the power of Sark and the wealth of the Squires will end.
The Earthman who sent the message is abducted and brainwashed. His memory gone, he is abandoned among Florinian slaves, unable to walk, speak, or feed himself. Cared for by a childless Florinian woman, he recovers enough to become a manual laborer, and is regarded as the village idiot.
Returning memory begins to drive him. His need to deliver the warning pits him against the full power of Sarkite oppression and reveals him to anxious watchers. Some would rescue him for the information he carries. Others would kill him to suppress it. The fate of Florina and the peace of the Galaxy depend on his survival.