How do I even begin to talk about Dragon’s Egg?
This book was a real game changer for me. Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward was probably the first hard science-fiction book I ever read. I came across it when I was 11 or 12, and it hugely expanded my conception of what science-fiction could be. As Forward was a physicist, his novels are filled with credible scientific inferences of what technology would be used for space travel, as well as interesting hypotheses of what life might look like on worlds much different than our own.
Published in 1980, the world that Dragon’s Egg focuses on is not a planet at all, but a neutron star, Dragon’s Egg, in the star constellation Draco. The life that evolves on that star is hyper accelerated in comparison with the pace at which humans move due to exposure to the extremely high gravity. Forward explores the evolution of this life with an attention to the impact of the neutron star on the alien cheela. In addition, he outlines the beliefs and culture of the cheela with the care of an anthropologist. In both ways, he manages to hit the nail on the head and the result is a three-dimensional, believable alien species.