John Brunner’s 1959 The World Swappers is a first-contact science fiction novel.
Four centuries earlier, bold visionaries embraced the promise of the stars. Hundreds of thousands left Earth to whatever dismal fate awaited them. They found thirty-one known habitable worlds within two hundred parsecs of Earth. The colonists had different notions of the utopias to which they aspired, but all of them found difficulty in achieving them.
Meanwhile, Earth did not descend into the over-populated, poverty-stricken hellhole predicted by doomsayers. Twenty-sixth century Earth is rich and lazy. However, the end of the golden age is in sight, unless adjustments are made in interstellar relations, adjustments that would allow emigration to restart.
Top oligarch Bassett is that confident he alone has the vision and the resources needed to restart and manage emigration. Shadowy cabal leader Uncredited social activist Saïd Counce knows that Bassett’s schemes are doomed. Were that not serious enough, Counce knows that the alien Others are about to stumble across humanity.
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