Jag försöker hitta en novell
"Second Dawn", a novelette by Arthur C. Clarke, also the answer to the old questions "Which 70s/80s story/book has horses as protagonists?" and "Short story about alien military telepathy?" and "Short story about a highly intelligent species without any technology". It was first published in Science Fiction Quarterly, August 1951, which is available at the Internet Archive (click here for download options).
involverar en utomjordisk ras av "intellektuella". De har inga motsatta tummar eller andra lemmar för att styra sin värld.
Both the Atheleni and their cousins, the Mithraneans, possessed mental powers that had enabled them to develop a very advanced mathematics and philosophy: but over the physical world they had no control at all. Houses, tools, clothes—indeed, artifacts of any kind—were utterly unknown to them. To races which possessed hands, tentacles, or other means of manipulation, their culture would have seemed incredibly limited: yet such is the adaptability of the mind, and the power of the commonplace, that they seldom realized their handicaps and could imagine no other way of life. It was natural to wander in great herds over the fertile plains, pausing where food was plentiful and moving on again when it was exhausted. This nomadic life had given them enough leisure for philosophy and even for certain arts. Their telepathic powers had not yet robbed them of their voices and they had developed a complex vocal music and an even more complex choreography. But they took the greatest pride of all in the range of their thoughts: for thousands of generations they had sent their minds roving through the misty infinities of metaphysics. Of physics, and indeed of all the sciences of matter, they knew nothing—not even that they existed.
Jag tror att historien är deras upptäckt av ett sätt att påverka en annan ointelligent art som kan manipulera objekt.
"The solution is, quite literally, in the hands of the Phileni. We must use their skills to reshape our world, and so remove the cause of all our wars. We must go back to the beginning and re-lay the foundations of our culture. It won't be our culture alone, though, for we shall share it with the Phileni. They will be the hands—we the brains. Oh, I have dreamed of the world that may come, ages ahead, when even the marvels you see around you now will be considered childish toys! But not many are philosophers, and I need an argument more substantial than dreams. That final argument I believe I may have found, though I cannot yet be certain.
Detta leder till en ny start för dem. De kan ha riskerat att uppfödas bortom tillgängliga resurser.
"The mind is a wonderful thing, Eris—but by itself it is helpless in the universe of matter. We know now how to multiply the power of our brains by an enormous factor: we can solve, perhaps, the great problems of mathematics that have baffled us for ages. But neither our unaided minds, nor the group-mind we've now created, can alter in the slightest the one fact that all through history has brought us and the Mithraneans into conflict—the fact that the food supply is fixed, and our populations are not."
Historien slutar med upptäcktsresande återvändande från havet. De kan ha upptäckt ett nytt land där de kan expandera.
"Land! They've found land—a whole new continent waiting for us!"
De sista scenerna har en mörkare smak där ett tecken har presenterats med en sten som lyser i mörkret.
Eris strained his eyes into the darkness. At first he could see nothing: then, slowly, a glimmering blue light became faintly visible. It was so vague and diffuse that he could not focus his eyes upon it, and he automatically moved forward.
"I shouldn't go too near," advised Aretenon. "It seems to be a perfectly ordinary mineral, but the Phileni who found it and carried it here got some very strange burns from handling it. Yet it's quite cold to the touch. One day we'll learn its secret: but I don't suppose it's anything at all important."
Författaren tar sedan över och gör några kommentarer om de flesta arter som passerar en korsning bara för att möta en annan.
Alone, perhaps, of all the races in the Universe, her people had reached the second crossroads—and had never passed the first. Now they must go along the road that they had missed, and must face the challenge at the end—the challenge from which, this time, they could not escape.
In the darkness, the faint glow of dying atoms burned unwavering in the rock. It would still be burning there, scarcely dimmed, when Jeryl and Eris had been dust for centuries. It would be only a little fainter when the civilization they were building had at last unlocked its secrets.