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Re: Dragon's Egg (was Re: Ferochromon: the Ebisedian conworld

From:Tim May <butsuri@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 24, 2002, 22:22
Roger Mills writes:
 > Tim May wrote:
 > >John Cowan writes:
 > > > Roger Mills scripsit:
 > > >
 > > > > I recall a SF novel (and a ST(NG? episode) that dealt with a
 > > > > planet orbiting its primary so quickly that in earth/ship time of
 > > > > one hour or so, life on the planet went from stone to bronze age;
 > > > > after another hour they were developing rockets.
 > > >
 > > > Robert Forward, _Dragon's Egg_.  The ST:V episode was called "Blink
 > > > of an Eye".
 > > >
 > >
 > >It wasn't a planet, though, in _Dragon's Egg_.  It was a neutron star.
 > >IIRC, time wasn't actually "going faster" on the surface, it's just
 > >that time-perception was different for the Cheela because the
 > >"chemical" reactions in impure neutronium are so much more
 > >rapid... it's a long time since I read it though, there may have been
 > >a relativistic element.  Certainly "earth/ship time of one hour or so,
 > >life on the planet went from stone to bronze age; after another hour
 > >they were developing rockets" describes the story.
 > Yes, that's more or less as I remember it.  I kindof thought they orbited a
 > quasar or pulsar, but could be mistaken. Wasn't their planet really tiny,
 > just barely visible? and the beings were micropscopic in size????  Certainly
 > it was a sufficiently interesting and well-written book that the basics
 > stuck with me.
(Assuming it's the same book) their world didn't _orbit_ a pulsar, it
_was_ a pulsar.  Pulsars are neutron stars.  The pulsar wasn't
microscopic, but it was pretty small compared to most planets, and
extremely small compared to anything of comparable mass (i.e. a star)
(unless it was a black hole).  The cheela themselves were microscopic,
and pretty much flat. I seem to recall reading somewhere that if you
could somehow land on a neutron star and step out onto the surface,
you'd rapidly be crushed into a film 1 atom thick.

Incidentally, _Dragon's Egg_ is one of only two books known to me in
the sub-genre of "books about tiny beings inhabiting a neutron star",
the other being _Flux_, by Stephen Baxter.