Saturday, 9 June 2012


To read, reread and discuss Poul Anderson's complete works would be a full time job for a single person. There are a few Anderson works that I have not yet read. So far, I have preferred to reread some of the many works that I do have than to google for second hand copies of the few that I have missed. It is to be hoped that these will be republished.

There are several works that I have read only once and not recently. Writing about them would require rereading. While expecting to enjoy them, I would not necessarily have a lot to say beyond maybe a plot summary and a few comparisons with other works.

Many articles appeared quickly here because they had been copied and pasted from an already existing website where they had accumulated more gradually. It will not be possible to maintain the recent rate of production.

Currently, I am rereading Starfarers to compare it with other late works under specific headings:

(i) means of interstellar travel;
(ii) AI;
(iii) aliens;
(iv) future society;
(v) any other points of interest.

So far, the Starfarer answers differ from those given in other works.

(i) Energy from the vacuum boosts a spaceship from normal state to near light speed without acceleration and returns it to normal state without deceleration.

(ii) It is argued that machines cannot become more intelligent than their creators because consciousness and creative thought are activities of an entire organism, not of electrons in circuits. Reference is made to "neuropsychology" which would be the combined study of observed neurons and of experienced psyches.

(iii) and (iv) I remember from the first reading that a small crew makes a long journey to contact detected intelligences and returns to a fundamentally changed terrestrial society. Read on...

Anderson, Poul, Starfarers, New York, 1999.

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