"Retro Review -
'The Black Sun
Introduction: Jack Williamson (1908-2006) was often called "The Dean of Science Fiction." He published his first story ("The Metal Man") in 1928, and kept on writing science fiction and fantasy for the rest of his life. Born in the fading years of the Old West, he was well-aware of the importance of frontiers in the past, and imagined their importance in the future. Williamson was 89 years old when he wrote The Black Sun, and yet it is full of the energy of youth.
Background: Sometime in the 21st century, Mankind is still mostly-confined to the Earth, making only sporadic ventures into the nearer parts of the Solar System. However, the invention of the quantum drive promises humanity expansion to the stars. But this drive has severe limitations which make interstellar colonization seem impractical and irrelevant to the homeworld.
The quantum drive converts the ship to a gigantic quantum packet which is converted back to matter when it enters the gravity well of another star. The quantum packet travels at the speed of light, and the aim is sufficiently inaccurate that there is no guarantee of just which star (if any) the packet will reach. There is a good chance that the ship will go many milllions or even billions of light-years before reconversaion, and a possibility that it will simply dissipate in intergalactic space.