Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Long Way Home: Conclusion

(A new record for page views yesterday: 339.)

In Poul Anderson's The  Long Way Home (St Albans, Herts, 1975):

(i) That phrase, "...a wilderness of stars...," again, on p. 184.

(ii) We do not, after all, see the Technon, the ruling computer, but are definitely told that it is not conscious. It is a super-computer, not a duplicated mind (p. 157).

(iii) Secretiveness facilitates subversion: the Technon runs the supposedly independent Commercial Society and the Centaurian Jovoids have gained partial control of the Technon!

(iv) In Alan Moore's Watchmen, a faked alien threat unites mankind; in this Anderson novel, a proved alien threat unites mankind.

(v) The superdrive crosses n light-years in n years of objective time but zero subjective time so it is a bit like FTL and a bit like time dilation. In the last sentence, the characters make one interstellar jump and plan more. They do not intend to return to the Solar System but, if they did, then thousands more years would have passed and they would hardly return to the same political situation.

(vi) Telepathy is well explained as sensitivity to nervous impulses. A telepath reads subvocalizations, suppressed motor impulses from brain to throat, and can therefore be foxed by another language.

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