Lost Colony, Lost Title...
June 29, 2008 6:44 PM   Subscribe

Science-Fiction-Novel-Filter: Lost colony of Galactic Empire, in which a man is dispatched to the planet with an automated legged probe. There is a technology on the planet that is perceived as magic(?) to the natives...

Lost colony of Galactic Empire, in which a man is dispatched to the planet with an automated legged probe. There is a technology on the planet that is perceived as magic(?) to the natives (who are human); this technology improves any inanimate object with continued use. A saw will develop diamond tips and become more efficient in use, nobles would hire people to wear their clothes so they retain their quality. Even the probe becomes subtly improved over time, enough so that the first-person narrator comments on how it appears more camouflaged and better suited to it's surveillance job.

I think the technology is nano-tech dispersed by the Galactic Empire prior to collapse, so the colonist would be able to adapt to the collapse. The man and probe are part of a team of people mandated to survey lost colonies.

I read this book maybe ten years ago, in English.

It would be great if this book is part of a series.

Thanks!
posted by strangelove to Writing & Language (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Practice Effect by David Brin. Sorry, I don't think there are any sequels.
posted by teraflop at 6:59 PM on June 29, 2008


Perfect, thank you Teraflop.

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Plot summary

An earth scientist is sent to another world where instead of objects wearing out as you use them, they improve. For example, swords get sharper when wielded often, baskets get less holes the more things they carry, broaches get shinier the more they are worn. This had certain side-effects such as kings getting servants to make poor objects, use them a lot until they are nearly perfect, and then give them to the king. In this universe there are certain similarities with Jean-Baptiste Lamarck's theory of biological evolution. It is eventually discovered that this effect is the result of a biologically engineered creature known as a krenegee beast which creates the field with this effect. The closer one is to the krenegee beasts, the better you can make use of this change in thermodynamics. A robot accompanied by a krenegee beast throughout the book became better at performing the last task given to it by the scientist, and without the aid of this robot and the enhancements which developed, it is unknown whether the scientist would have been quite so successful.
posted by strangelove at 7:04 PM on June 29, 2008


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