The End of the Beginning

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Bradbury, Ray "The End of the Beginning." "First published as 'Next Stop: The Stars' in the magazine Maclean's, Oct 27, 1956."[1] Rpt. Amazing, July 1959. Frequently reprinted, translated, and collected, for which see entry in Internet Speculative Fiction Database, as of June 2022, here.[2] Also as of June 2022, full text offered here.[3]

Listed in Benford and Zebrowski's Skylife: Space Habitats in Story and Science.

What is ending is humanity's time tethered to the Earth, as the first rockets take people into space. First stop, "The space station, of course [...]. The big wheel with hollow spokes where [astronaut] Bob’ll live six or eight months, then get along to the moon. ¶ Walking home, I remembered more of the song. ‘Little wheel run by faith, Big wheel run by the grace of God.’ I wanted to jump, yell, and flame-out myself!” The song is "Ezekiel Saw the Wheel," "an African American spiritual [...] arranged by William L. Dawson" and recorded (and available on-line) by such artists as Woody Guthrie and Paul Robeson.[4]

When I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. The workmanship of the wheels looked like the gleam of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. Their workmanship looked like a wheel within a wheel. (See Ezekiel 1.15-21)[5]

RDE, finishing, 13Jun22