DRAGON’S EGG by Robert L. Forward

A fun sci fi written in 1980, about a very small neutron star that has …. gasp!  …… a sentient, intelligent species on it.  Because the star had such strong magnetic lines, and extreme gravity, the creatures were flat.  I continued to picture them as snails without shells.

Here’s the book’s description:

Dragon’s Egg was a neutron star, an incredibly dense sphere only twenty kilometers in diameter, with a surface fravity sixty-seven billion times that of earth. No human could ever land on such  a star.  Only by the most advanced technology could science even study it.

Researchers detect intelligent life: the cheela, aliens who live so fast that one of our hours is the equivalent of more than a hundred yhears to them.  The cheela struggle from savagery to science in a span of days (human days).

The cheela are flat, amoeba-type creatures about 2.5 mm in radius, and 0.5 mm high, with a density of 7 million g/cc.

After making contact through light pulses signals, the scientists begin to send down data about technology.  Since it takes weeks for even a human sentence to be completed according to the cheela’s speeded-up time perception, they have plenty of time to study the information, gradually evolving over generations to develop a technology even greater than the humans.  All this takes only about 4 human days.

It was a  truly intriguing concept for me, the vast disparity between the time lived and how the two species managed to communicate and develop relationships.  It was a wonderful break from the typical space opera battles and betrayals and ill-will between species and planets.

But.  In the sequel, a starquake rocks Dragon’s Egg, decimating the cheela.  On the surface, the few survivors fight to stay alive.  Meanwhile, in orbit above the star, their human friends face a dreadful choice: return to earth and let this alien race risk extinction, or remain to help and possibly, maybe certainly, die in the attempt.


3 comments on “DRAGON’S EGG by Robert L. Forward

  1. Bookstooge says:

    Man, I think I read this back in middleschool or highschool? Actually, I think I read the sequel first because that’ what the library had. And what young man can resist a title like Star Quake? 🙂

    Glad you enjoyed this. Do you think you’ll search out any more by this author?


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