So he sent down extensions of himself, creatures fashioned after Earth's dominant life-form. In one of Earth's languages they became known as Dedos, or Fingers of Starquin. Disguised, they mingled with Mankind.
We know this now, here at the end of Earth's time. The information is all held in Earth's great computer, the Rainbow. The Rainbow will endure as long as Earth exists, watching, listening, recording and thinking. I am an extension of the Rainbow, just as the Dedos are extensions of Starquin. My name is Alan-Blue-Cloud.
It is possible you cannot see me but are aware of me only as a voice speaking to you from a desolate hillside, telling you tales from the Song of Earth. I can see you, the motley remains of the human race, however. You sit there with our clubs and you chew your roots, entranced and half-disbelieving as I sing the Song - and in our faces are signs of the work of your great geneticist, Mordecai N. Whirst. Catlike eyes here, broad muzzles there, all the genes of Earth's life, expertly blended, each having its purpose. Strong people, adapted people, people who survived.
The story I will tell is about people who were not so strong. It is perhaps the most famous in the whole Song of Earth, and it tells of three simple human beings involved in a quest who unwittingly became involved in much greater events concerning the almighty Starquin himself. It is a story of heroism and love, and it ends in triumph - and it will remind the humans among you of the greatness that was once yours.
This is the question which confronts Alex Stordahl, supervisor of the harsh planet Marilyn. Initially nobody had suspected anything unusual about the largely reptilian animal life. Then Stordahl discovered the amorphs - shapeless in their natural state, but possessing a unique defence mechanism: when closely approached by a possible aggressor, they could adopt the form least likely to be attacked by the creature.
When it transpires that the creatures are harmless they are quickly absorbed into the colony to provide extra labour. The the ruthless owner of the development corporation arrives from Earth. He wants to test the amorphs, and brings with him a group of four brilliant, but totally egotistical men. And trouble soon starts...
"I'll say!" rasped one of the friends.
"If it wasn't for the Act, I'd have been in a physical body now, instead of being in this damned box!"
"If it wasn't for the Act, you'd have been dead this last hundred and fifty years," pointed out the Conversationalist.
"You've probably has four physical bodies by now, a total of one hundred and sixty years of active life. And just twenty years in a box. That's not bad!"
The problem of immortality had been solved in the 21st century: when you reached forty, your brain was transferred to the head of a six-month-old infant. In that way, you obtained another forty years of life, until you could do it all over again. But nobody could have foreseen the dramatic manner in which the birthrate would fall - resulting in a growing waiting list for host bodies, and the creation of Friendship Boxes to house the brains of those who waited. The Friendship Boxes proliferated: a grumbling section of the community, a constant source of embarrassment to every politician...Until the day it all came to a head.
So this is the story of John-A, the "vatkid" who was trained to be a second Hero. And the story of "trukid" Shirl who taught John-A what to do. And Threesum, the Oddlies' leader, who scoffed at heroes. And the Elders who frowned at all the risky goings-on. This is the story of a mighty strange world and a mighty strange future...
As a marine biologist at Riverside Research Centre, Mark Swindon is chiefly concerned about the effect of catastrophic tides on his precious fish pens.
Then, without warning, a wave of seemingly motiveless violence sweeps through the normally sleepy colony - and Mark too feels himself drawn against his will into a mysterious cycle of death and rebirth.
Matt Helm is to captain the last space shuttle carrying passengers to the starship, but his irrepressible desire for Fern Angelus corrupts his sense of duty. He agrees to take part in her time experiments.
Set against a background of passion and longing, Matt's uncanny success with mind projection meets unforseen complications. He projects his mind to a future Earth: a world of shallow, extensive seas, mutated trees growing in layers on each other's branches, and strangely evolved animals like snappersnouts, humpers and energy creatures.
Matt's strange visions eventually meet reality when he discovers that the last load of passengers for the starship has been left behind; and he is one of them.
It was an offer the Arcadians could not possibly refuse, for the alternative, after all, was an accelerating slide into poverty and, eventually, savagery. Only when the Hetherington Organisation's first cargo ships arrived, unloading a huge stream of brontomeks - huge robot agricultural machines, heavily armoured - and an army of amorphs, aliens who were capable of moulding themselves into human form, did the colony begin to realise what it had committed itself to.
Brontomek! is a sequel to two earlier books, Syzygy and Mirror Image. Like it's predecessors it is an ingenious, adventurous tale of the type which has rapidly made Coney one of SF's foremost entertainers.
Brontomek! won the 1977 BSFA award for best novel.
It's dangerous to fall in love with a bondsmaiden. Doubly so when her mistress is in love with you. Triply so when it might set off the social explosion that had been smouldering beneath the delicately balanced surface of their post-cataclysmic Peninsula.
The individuals in the small group are brilliantly portrayed, in turn defeatist, boastful, querulous, selfish and generous. They are obsessive, they argue; but when danger threatens, as it often does, they immediately band together in their common fight for survival.