Stone spring

Sequence of author: Northland(№1)

Stone spring

Stephen Baxter

Alternative history

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Stephen Baxter Stone spring ONE 1 The comet swam out of the dark. Its light bathed the planet that lay ahead, reflecting from a hemisphere that gleamed a lifeless bone-white. Vast ice caps covered much of North America and central Asia. In Europe a single monstrous dome stretched from Scotland to Scandinavia, in places piled kilometres thick. To the south was a polar desert, scoured by winds, giving way to tundra. At the glaciation’s greatest extent Britain and northern Europe had been abandoned entirely; no human had lived north of the Alps. At last, prompted by subtle, cyclic changes in Earth’s orbit, the climate had shifted – and with dramatic suddenness. Over a few decades millennia-old ice receded north. The revealed landscape, scoured to the bedrock, was tentatively colonised by the grey-green of life. Migrant herds and the humans who depended on them slowly followed, taking back landscapes on which there was rarely a trace of forgotten ancestors. With so much water...

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