Saturday, 9 March 2013

Earth In World Without Stars

The concluding chapter of Poul Anderson's World Without Stars (New York, 1966) is described as an addition to the posthumous edition of Guild Captain Felipe Argens' autobiography so, despite the antithanatic, the Captain has died after we do not know how many centuries of life.

He describes Earth/Manhome:

it is depopulated and quiet;
great forests have returned;
spacemen find enjoyment in the starport towns;
youth from every part of the galaxy attend the educational centres;
arts, science and scholarship flourish;
nothing new is built - the old is preserved;
a spaceman can find his robotically protected property and its surroundings unchanged after five hundred years;
Argens reports to his employers and to the Universarium of Nordamerik;
in Niyork, there is little traffic while ivy and lichen grow on the tall, mostly empty, towers;
to visit Hugh Valland, Argens rents a flying vehicle called a "flitter" and parks it "...on an otherwise deserted carfield..." at a small Maine village (p. 123);
in Maine, there are forests and a peak-roofed, shingle-walled, seaside village of two hundred people, "...those curious, clannish folk who - even more than on places like Landomar - are not interested in worlds out yonder, who use their immortality to sink deeper roots into Earth" (p. 123);
the civil monitor of the village smokes a pipe on a rocking chair on his porch while his one wife prepares dinner;
Argens finds a gravestone inscribed "Mary O'Meara, 2018-2037";
Mary's contemporary, Valland, is nearly three thousand so the novel is set about 5018.

(Mary will be born five years hence in the year of James Blish's They Shall Have Stars/Year 2018!)


Anonymous said...

Look at this

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Your mention of Captain Argens posthumously published memoirs inspires several thoughts. Many people with indefinitely extended life spans would find writing autobiographies a good way of both preserving memories edited from their minds but also to preserve a continuous sense of the "self," of remaining true to one's view of himself, what he considers himself to be. And I think the writing and publishing of autobiographies would be a popular branch of literature in a society which has the antithanatic seen in WORLD WITHOUT STARS.


Paul Shackley said...

Sean, good point.

Paul Shackley said...

Who is Anonymous?