Around a minor G-type star toward one edge of a medium-sized galaxy planets swung as they had for billions of years, under a modified inverse square law that shaped space. Four were big enough, as planets go, to be noticeable; the rest were pebbles, concealed in the fiery skirts of the primary or lost in the black reaches of space. All, as is always the case, were infected with that oddity of distorted entropy called life; on the third and fourth planets surface temperatures cycled around the freezing point of hydrogen monoxide; in consequence they had developed life forms similar enough to permit a degree of social contact.

This quote, which begins Chapter XI, is a prime example of the cosmic viewpoint that the narration shifts into throughout the novel, typically at the beginnings of chapters. The "third" and "fourth" planets around the "minor G-type star" referred to here are Earth and Mars rotating around the sun. The fact that the narrator does not refer to them by their familiar names implies that the narrative perspective is that not of an ordinary human being, but of a consciousness with infinite vision, able to watch over so many planets that the Earth and our solar system do not stand out as particularly special. The fact that life is referred to dismissively as "that oddity of distorted entropy" implies that the consciousness that narrates is even broader than that of any living creature; the implication is that we are being shown the universe from outside the universe, from a God's perspective.