Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Winding Up On The Star Fox

A few last points from Poul Anderson's The Star Fox (London, 1968) -

(i) Gunnar Heim compares a space battle to a sea battle:

"Olaf Tryggvason, on the blood-reddened deck of the Long Serpent." (p. 195)

- like Marius, a name familiar from Anderson's historical fiction recurring in his science fiction.

(ii) " '...gravitronics...' " (p. 93) The single use of the name for the science of gravity which is applied with devices called "gravitrons" for both anti-gravity and FTL. The Staurni have gravitronics but are uninterested in interstellar travel.

(iii) Anderson dramatises the political conflict between "militarists" and Militants for Peace by putting Gunnar into a relationship with a woman on the opposite side of the argument. This works ok. Gunnar is able to distinguish between a personal relationship and a political argument.

(iv) The enemy aliens, the Aleriona, are slow to change and bred to specialise. Thus, dynamic, generalist human beings are a threat to them. This is a theme in much Campbellian sf: human complexities are an unpredictable challenge to other intelligent species. Asimov invented the humans only galaxy for his future history because he did not want to go along with the Campbellian idea of human superiority. One Aleriona who is bred to think like human beings and not allowed to procreate, in order not to disrupt his own society, is lonely and tries to befriend the captured Heim, thus giving the latter an escape opportunity.

No comments: