Monday, February 13, 2012

A Whisper of Time 1 - Paula Downing King

"Dr. McGill laughed and pressed Ian's hand, then led them into the apartment foyer. A babble of voices issued from the room beyond as glasses clinked and Dr. McGill's guests talked a combination of gossip and shop. On Ariadan, with a population of scientists obsessed with the mystery of the Targethi ruins, one could go anywhere and overhear voices in affable argument about glyphs, technic structure, and xenobiology. Medoret recognized representatives of all the major Cebalrai teams in the room: Metals, Urban Map, BioSurvey, and Glyphs. She had met a few of Dr. Ruth's guests now and then, seen fax-photos of several others in article bios.

For fifteen years, first at the smaller Targethi mining outpost at 70 Ophiuchi, the first ruins discovered by the Ariadan probes, and then at the larger ruins at Cebalrai, the scientists of Earth had plunged into the exploration of an alien culture, the first and only alien culture -- save Medoret herself, of course, in all her different mysteries. Though the Earth legislature debated the expense every year, sometimes in rancorous dispute with the other colony governments who had their own agendas, every year the Project got what it asked for in ships and support and money, with a suitable smaller largesse for an archaeological subproject named Medoret Douglas. She and Ian lived well, as did Dr. Sieyes. She glimpsed Dr. Sieyes's portly figure in the far corner of the next room. He was laughing jovially with a group of admiring friends, gesturing with the drink in his hand as he told his story. She winced and looked back longingly at the door."

3 out of 5