From My Readings: Alan Dean Foster: “Relic” (c) 2018.
Epic sci fi : A tale of a journey across deep space to find humanity’s ancient homeworld, Earth. A fascinating tale of one man’s dreams, his hopes, sorrows, and adventures.
The human race has expanded across the universe, settling on numerous habitable planets. An interplanetary war leads to the development of a biological weapon, a genetically engineered smart virus. Referred to as the plague of the Aura Malignance, it spreads rapidly through all the worlds, wiping out virtually all of humanity.
On the world of Serobath one man survives: A relic of humanity. Ruslan believes himself to be the only surviving human being in the universe. He is an old man when he is found by a highly advanced alien race, the Myssari.
The Myssari are one of numerous highly advanced alien races from distant star systems, exploring the ruined human worlds, setting up xenoarcheology research outposts to learn of their civilizations.
The Myssari are kind and courteous and Ruslan leaves Seraboth for the planet Myssar, to become a resident of Pe’leoek, the Myssari scientific research complex along the coast. The Myssari are very excited to have found Ruslan. He is somewhat of a research subject, a valuable human specimen: they are interested in using his genetic material to revive the human race.
Ruslan accepts their idea of cloning, or even to search for other humans. But on one condition: to help him to find humanity’s original home, Earth. Ruslan has never been to Earth but it is humanity’s ancient home, something he feels very deeply within his heart.
So begin Ruslan’s journeys to other planets, with the Myssari scientific expeditions.
Ruslan is excited and his hopes run high when they discover humans in cryo-suspension deep inside a mountain. There is just enough power to keep the life-sustaining machinery functioning. The humans have left instructions for revival should they be ever found.
Ruslan is devastated and feels a deep sense of bereavement with the discovery that although the humans are physically alive their minds cannot be revived.
Then in an extraordinary encounter, on the planet of Daribb, Ruslan finds an 11-year old girl, Cherpa, and a teenage boy Pahksen. Both speak the intergalactic human language, as does Ruslan. They have learned to live, to survive in the ruins of the city, amongst ferocious and violent predators. Cherpa and Pahksen leave with Ruslan, to begin new lives on Mysarr.
Some years later, through artificial fertilization, Ruslan and Cherpa become the parents of 16 children. They both love the children while their relationship is like a father and daughter.
Both are very excited when the Myssari tell them that they have found Old Earth!
On Earth, Ruslan recognizes details he had only read about. He realizes that Earth is humanity’s homeworld but he misses his home planet of Seraboth and that of Myssar, planets where he has lived for so much of his life.
More importantly, he also realizes that Cherpa and the children could settle on Earth, and with the help of the Myssari, restore human life to Earth…