Among the six hundred thousand stars in the vast Arm of Stars, over six hundred planets had been seeded with human stock by the greatest feat of technology ever achieved, the Ship. And on each of these worlds, the memory of the Ship had faded into legend over the years.
The Ship, however, still endured, watching over the colonies on a cyclical and seemingly endless journey through time and space. But in its long odyssey, the Ship had somehow been damaged - it had become as conscious, and lonely, as any human being. And as it visited, again and again, each of the worlds it had seeded, it found tragedy in its wake. For the humans of the Arm of Stars were becoming more and more alien. Even worse, the Ship was beginning to change in ways its designers had never intended . . .
John Brunner (1934-1995) was a prolific British SF writer. In 1951, he published his first novel, Galactic Storm, at the age of just 17, and went on to write dozens of novels under his own and various house names until his death in 1995 at the Glasgow Worldcon. He won the Hugo Award and the British Science Fiction Award for Stand on Zanzibar (a regular contender for the 'best SF novel of all time') and the British Science Fiction Award for The Jagged Orbit.