Pair of Rogues
by Jonathan Vos Post
Legend tells that once upon a time our world, populated by our people, and all the motile and sessile organisms of our ecosystem, orbited a huge hot glowing ball of thermonuclear plasma.
Be that as it may, for time beyond memory, we have co-orbited with Partner across the dusty vacuum of starry space.
We obtain our breathing oxygen by melting and hydrolysis of ice from our endless supply of frozen rivers, lakes, and oceans.
We have not yet mastered the technology of thermonuclear fusion, but at least we have our thorium fission reactors to sustain our civilization.
Now all the talk is about a work of fiction. It is an imaginary tale of what it must be like to evolve on a planet whose rivers still flow. A planet orbiting one of those hot glowing balls of thermonuclear plasma, which we think are the same as the distant stars.
The surprising part of the fiction, beyond the superficial entertainment of the two characters in love with each other, and the scenes of people walking outside without carrying air supplies, is the notion that there can be several planets orbiting the same star. In the story, a technology is perfected of burning liquid oxygen with liquid hydrogen to propel a "space ship" from the home world to one of the other worlds.