Thursday, 28 February 2013

Contrasts And Comparisons

Poul Anderson's After Doomsday assumes FTL and contact with many alien races and describes the destruction of all life on Earth. The same author's Tau Zero assumes STL and contact with no alien races and describes the end of the universe. Thus, opposite premises and two very different "end of the world" scenarios, although both are scientifically based.

(F/STL= faster/slower than light interstellar travel.)

What have these novels in common? Each takes a simple science fictional premise and explores its unexpected possibilities:

what if an interstellar expedition returned to find that all life on Earth had been destroyed in its absence?;

what if an STL spaceship accelerated indefinitely so that its crew aged only months while their ship passed between clusters of clusters of galaxies and oulasted the universe?

In both novels, the hero must lead what may be the last remnant of humanity, must keep himself and his fellow human beings sane, must motivate them to do whatever it takes to survive and must look towards a better future even when there might not be one. Heroism indeed. These two central characters have much in common.

1 comment:

Paul Shackley said...

The 700th post and already way more pageviews than yesterday. Now I am going to do something else for the rest of today!