Centuries old, but recently widened, the highway was the same road used by pagan armies, pilgrims, peasants, donkey carts, nomads, wild horsemen out of the east, artillery, tanks, and ten-ton trucks. Its traffic gushed or trickled or dripped, according to the age and season. Once before, long ago, there had been six lanes and robot traffic. Then the traffic had stopped, the paving had cracked, and sparse grass grew in the cracks after an occasional rain. Dust had covered it. Desert dwellers had dug up its broken concrete for the building of hovels and barricades. Erosion made it a desert trail, crossing wilderness. But now there were six lanes and robot traffic, as before.
Walter M. Miller Jr.
He could think only of the girl and the child. He was certain she had been ready to change her mind, had needed only the command, I, a priest of God, adjure thee, and the grace to hear it—if only they had not forced him to stop where she could witness God’s priest summarily overruled by Caesar’s traffic cop. Never to him had Christ’s Kingship seemed more distant.
Earth – it was a place where you could stop being afraid, a place where fear of suffocation was not, where fear of blowout was not, where nobody went berserk with the chokers or dreamed of poisoned air or worried about shorthorn cancer or burn blindness or meteoric dust or low-gravity muscular atrophy. A place where there was wind to blow your sweat away.
Tell me, how would you feel if everyone screamed and ran when they saw you coming, or hunted you down like a criminal? How long would you sanity last?”…”…Tell me something else, if all the world was blind save one man, wouldn’t the world be inclined to call that man’s sight a hallucination? And the man with eyes might even come to agree with the world.
There seems to be at least one common denominator to all intelligent life: it was bipedal and bimannual. Four legs was the most practical number for any animal on any planet, and it seems that nature has nothing else to work with. When she decided to give intelligence to a species, she taught him to stand on his hind legs, freeing his forefeet to become tools of his intellect. And she usually taught him by making him use his hands to climb. As a Cophian biologist had said, “Life first tries to climb a tree to get to the stars. When it fails, it comes down and invents the high-C drive.