All over the world, the Vorsters knelt, or writhed, or sat, worshipping in their different ways the little blue lights that symbolized the infinite power of the atom. All over the world, the wonder of the little blue lights took hold. Noel Vorst, founder of the Vorsters, became a god, and technology a religion.
But some held out, believing in the wonder that is man, in his ability to adapt to the miracle of the universe, to become one with it. And some few grew powers forever barred to the Vorsters.
The conflict between genes and machines was joined in the year 2077.
This book was originally published in five parts in Galaxy in 1966. See the individual story entries for commentary. Some bibliographies list this as a short story collection rather than a novel, but it seems to me that the stories were written to fit together, and work much better as part of the whole, so I call it a novel. The book presents a design for a religion based not on faith but on science. To some degree, the founders of this religion design it specifically to draw followers (such as funding research into longevity), and to accomplish their own goals, but they do have the best interests of the human race at heart. Of
course, any time you have a single person or a small group manipulating people
for their own good you run the danger of disaster. What if that vision of the greater good is wrong?
Spoiler alert: The descriptions of later stories may give away the endings of earlier ones.
(None on file)