I was digging through the stacks of used science fiction at San Francisco's Green Apple bookstore when I came across this absolute gem, H. Beam Piper's The Cosmic Computer. Falling into Piper's Terran Federation universe, The Cosmic Computer tells the story of life at the edges of mankind's crumbling galactic society.
Conn Maxwell is a smart kid who gets sent to Earth for some learning. His backwards home-world, Poictesme, is nothing but grapes, distilleries and a mountain of left over war surpluss from the last big one. Folks on Poictesme are hoping he comes back with knowledge of MERLIN, a legendary war computer they believe can kickstart their economy. In typical H. Beam Piper fashion, Conn uses the hunt for the computer to do the kickstarting for them, but the mystery of MERLIN still looms...
I love finding great, old books like this for $1 or $2 used. Having them on the shelf is really nice however, a great thing about H. Beam Piper's work is that you can usually find it legally free on the net.
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