“A Place Beyond the Stars,” Tom Godwin, 1959 — A dying earth sends Immigration Scouts ahead on a mission to locate civilizations that could serve as rest and refueling stations along the path of their very long journey. A scout finds the world of Bonthar, ruled by the dictator, Graldo. Graldo keeps Bonthar in a state of economic depression and stifles scientific progress due to his desire to focus solely on practical, military technology–and only enough of that to sustain his rule. The scout tricks Graldo into spurring development by offering him even more advanced technology; however, only an industrialized society could produce the technology. The scout also convinces Graldo to accompany him on an 80-day mission to another system to collect the ores needed to construct a nuclear bomb, the weapon that Graldo most desires.
What Graldo doesn’t realize, however, is that while the trip will take 80 days for him, Bonthar will experience hundreds of years due to relativity. Upon their return, they find that Bonthar has flourished and developed. The new administrators of Bonthar are gentle with the stunned Graldo, even offering to find a place in society for the now powerless dictator. As the scout departs, the people of Bonthar promise to be ready when the scout’s people arrive in 20 years in needed of replenishment.
Comments: Read in Tales of Superscience.