A Choice of Gods Author:Clifford D. Simak One day they were there, the next they were gone--all but a small tribe of American Indians, a family and friends gathered for a party, and the ubiquitous robots. Whatever mysterious power it was that had snatched up eight billion human souls and spirited them away had overlooked very few. — Deprived of a labor force, technology disintegrated. Th... more »e Indians went back to nature, the others...something very strange happened to them. In exchange for the overpowering presence of the vanished hordes, they acquired mental powers beyond imagining which whisked them through the stars, extraordinary longevity, and a painfully garnered wisdom.
As for the robots, some went to live with the remnants of humanity, though the Indians forthrightly rejected their services; others gathered into a robot community and commenced work on the Project, a work baffling to human understanding, but in all its fantastic electronic complexity an apotheosis of robotry; still others, a very few, stubbornly maintained the old religion and lived as monks, worshiping they knew not what by who knows what right.
Then one day a traveler returned from the stars. The people had been found and were planning to return. More important and more dreadful, a Principle had been discovered in the center of the Galaxy, a disembodied intelligence of awesome capacity and godlike indifference. The idyllic existence of the last of Earth's humans was threatened. The carefully composed elegy to mankind was under siege.« less