Year of publication: 1957
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Life Cycle by Poul Anderson AUTHOR’S NOTE A science-fiction writer may, of course, speculate about things that science has not yet discovered. But whenever he deals with what is already known, he should get his facts straight. That’s what I tried to do in this story. The planet Mercury was depicted as accurately as possible by me, according to the best available data and theories, as of 1957. The trouble is, scientific “facts” won’t stay put. In the spring of 1965, radar and radio observations indicated that Mercury does not eternally turn the same face toward the sun and that the dark side—even in the course of a very long night—does not get especially cold. So perhaps this story should not now be reprinted, or perhaps it should at least have been rewritten. But information is still coming in; we are not quite sure that the new data mean what we think they mean; surely all our ideas are due for another upset or two before we get to Mercury and...