Friday, 8 March 2013
"...a habitable uninhabited world (statistically rare, but consider how many stars the universe holds)..." (p. 7)
Many science fiction readers will accept and pass over that statement but just think about what it implies. To find a suitable planet, the land claimers must travel to another star. We are used to that, in fiction. However, in the Terran Empire period of Anderson's History of Technic Civilization, extra-solar colonies are, with one exception, confined to a single spatial volume of a single spiral arm of the home galaxy. Later, mankind spreads through several spiral arms but that is as far as we see them go.
Here, on the first page of this novel, Anderson makes it clear that would-be colonists can search the universe for a star with a habitable uninhabited planet. As noted in earlier posts, when a spaceship has, by stages if necessary, matched its velocity to that of another galaxy, any other galaxy, then it can instantaneously jump to a predetermined point within that galaxy. That is a whole different ball game from mere interstellar travel, even when the latter is faster than light. And, as has also been noted, lifespans are indefinitely prolonged, ending only by accident or violence.
Either breeding reinforces the instinct to live on the land or "...the original parents remain culturally dominant over the centuries." (p. 7) The result is a scattered population of villagers and farmers who conserve their forests and oceans and who, in the case of Landomar, agree to a starport, called City, being built in orbit because they do not want one on the ground. The elders welcome the money of spacemen, who visit to hunt and sail, but dislike it when their youngsters visit and start to work in City. However, sociodynamicists extrapolate that, apart from the development of a few "...small space-oriented service enterprises...," the presence of City:
"...would never really affect their own timeless oneness with the planet." (p. 8)
Another planet, Awry, is described as:
"...a bucolic patriarchal settlement like Landomar." (p. 23)
One spaceman has a young daughter in City and a thirty year old from Awry becomes a spaceman. So, after three millennia of the antithanatic, people are still being born yet the population of Landomar remains "...scattered...," inhabiting farms and villages, not planetary cities (p. 7). Either the antithanatic reduces fertility or other measures are taken.
How many people would want to remain forever on one patch of land with the entire universe to explore? Some but not many, apparently.