By the Year of the Galactic Era 827, thousands of planets belong to the Imperial Empire. Earth is a mere way station, heavily contaminated by radioactivity and able to sustain only 20 million lives. When humans reach the age of 60, they are euthanized to make way for the next generation. Most members of the Empire look down on Earthlings, regarding them as a backward race, but archaeologist Bel Arvardan, a native of Baronn in the Sirius system, is convinced that most humanoid life in the universe may have originated on Earth, and he mounts an expedition to search for antiquities. He'll have difficulty getting permission from Imperial authorities, however, because humans have rebelled three times in the past two centuries, and the government wants no further incitements to trouble. Arvardan's trail will cross that of Joseph Schwartz, a 62-year-old retired tailor who inexplicably zips from 20th-century Chicago because of a radiation accident into this distant future and is operated on by physicist Affret Shekt to increase his mental powers by many factors. This was Asimov's first science fiction novel, published in 1950.
This report prepared by David Loftus