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Adam Roberts


Year 2000
Publisher Victor Gollancz  (Orion Books Ltd)
ISBN 0575068973



Salt is a crystal compound of Sodium and Chloride; faceted and transparent.  Simple and pure.  What life could there be without salt?  It is known as God's diamond, by which we should be aware of the infinite variability of scale for the divine perspective.  Every grain is a landscape, a world.

And us?  We are fragile.  We dissolve in immensity like salt in water.

And after thirty-seven years of travel through the vastness of space we arrived at the planet Salt.  And we took Heaven and Hell with us.




Told by two people, Petja and Barlei, Salt is the story of a planetary colonisation that slips into a tragedy of Biblical proportions.  The two communities who went to Salt were united by the dream of a new beginning and, isolated in a landscape of cruel majesty, torn apart by ancient enmities.

Salt is a novel of remarkable power, intense beauty and profound insight. In its evocation of an alien world it compares to nothing less than Dune.






Credit: NASA

The Face of Beauty
Few sights in the solar system are more strikingly beautiful than softly hued Saturn embraced by the shadows of its stately rings.

The gas planet's subtle northward gradation from gold to azure is a striking visual effect that scientists don't fully understand. The color view above was created using blue, green and red spectral filters, which approximates the scene as it would appear to the human eye.

Current thinking says that the color gradations may be related to seasonal influences, tied to the cold temperatures in the northern (winter) hemisphere. Despite Cassini's revelations, Saturn remains a world of mystery.

Currently, the rings' shadows shield the mid-northern latitudes from the harshest of the sun's rays. As Saturn travels around the sun in its 29-year orbit, the shadows will narrow and head southward, eventually blanketing the opposite hemisphere.

NASA Image of the day archive





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