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The Cosmic Computer by H. Beam Piper, Science Fiction, Adventure Hardcover – March 1, 2007
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About the Author
Henry Beam Piper (1904 - c1964) was an American science fiction author. He wrote many short stories and several novels. He is best known for his extensive Terro-Human Future History series of stories and a shorter series of "Paratime" alternate history tales.
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In this tale one man, from a small town on a backwater planet of a fading human empire, is tasked with the impossible job to save his entire civilization. As the town`s most promising student, Conn was practically pressed into service by the elders to locate a mystical computer, left over from an old war and hidden away. In order to do so he must lie and manipulate everyone he knows, and do it for their own best interest. Because the elders believed that the super computer, Merlin, will solve all their world problems; economic, judicial and defense. And Conn, a trained computerman can't really convince them otherwise.
This story of one man`s attempt to harness the strength of his people in order to save them from their slow, inevitable descent into barbarism. To do so he must trick them into building and rebuilding their world, seeking new agricultural, industrial and economic means. All in the name of finding Merlin, a super computer that doesn't exits...or does it.
And let's not forget that H. Beam Piper managed to include a point in all of this as well, in a very concise & susinct way in addition to his usual colorfull writing.