Read this book around 1975/79. Can remember the story but not the title.

Basically: group of humans in deep sleep/hibernation in underground bunkers. Awake to find 1000s years gone by and ants and bees etc have evolved into intelligent beings. Story of how they cope and alliances made. Twist at the end is that they were 'left' to see if Earth was okay before the elite (who fled in spaceships and sat in orbit) waited to return.

Appears those in space can't return as they haven't become immune to some new radiation.

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    I think I've read this, but it was a long time ago and I appear to have lost the book so I now cannot find it. I'll add the points I remember in case it helps jog memories. In mankind's absence life on Earth had evolved Gaia style into a unified whole. I remember one if the protagonists saying this hadn't happened in the sea yet, and I think I remember life in the sea being described as "still dog eat dog". Jan 11, 2019 at 17:13
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    The humans in the hibernation cabinets became part of the biosphere because bacteria got into the cabinets and interacted with them. However the humans in the space station(s) remained isolated and are not part of the biosphere. They send an explorer down with immunisations against the bacteria but the explorer suffers something like a cytokine storm and dies. They then send three volunteers down with no immunisations and they suffer truly ghastly deaths. Eventually the humans on the space station accept that they will have to leave Earth and colonise the rest of the Solar System. Jan 11, 2019 at 17:16
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    I remember the humans on the space stations saying that the survival rate for the humans hibernating on Earth was very low. By the time the space stations were completed hibernation cabinets had improved and the humans on the space stations had very few deaths during hibernation. Jan 11, 2019 at 17:19
  • Mark, if any of this rings a bell we can edit the extra info into your question. Jan 11, 2019 at 17:19
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1 Answer 1


I think this is 'Sold - for a spaceship' by Philip E High

From Google books - "They had slept in safety while destruction raged above them. When they awoke and emerged from their places of refuge, the world had changed - totally.

For man soon discovered that he was no longer the dominant species on Earth. Now there were other creatures, not only ready to dispute the point but well prepared to prove it.

It was later, much later, that the bulk of mankind discovered they had forfeited their birthright, traded their home, the planet Earth - for a spaceship."

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    Hi Martin. Fantastic. I've been trying to remember the title of this for about 10years. Wish I'd found this site years ago and had your help then. Truly - many thanks. All the best. Jan 12, 2019 at 7:04
  • Sample text from the book: books.google.com.ua/… Oct 8, 2020 at 6:46

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