Sunday, 17 November 2013

Connections With Fiction III

In Poul Anderson's Is There Life On Other Worlds? (New York, 1963):

The Star Fox and Fire Time

(vii) A spaceship isolated from the inertia-generating cosmic gravitational field might accelerate indefinitely (p. 166).

This is the kind of hyperdrive used in what I call Anderson's Star Time diptych.

(viii) "...I suspect that [future Terrestrial society] will be poor, with great wealth reserved for the very few..." (p. 185)

This is the kind of global economy that Anderson envisages in Star Time and in some other futuristic sf works but why? Surely technology opens the possibilty of abundant wealth for all - as Anderson also acknowledges.


(ix) "I...imagine the long-run consequence of a hyper-drive as not one galactic civilization but widely scattered clusters of civilizations." (p. 168)

This is the brilliant setting of Anderson's After Doomsday and it is a pity that he did not write an entire series about it. At the end of that novel, dispossessed human beings have changed the balance of power in two neighbouring civilization clusters without, of course, affecting the rest of the galaxy in the slightest.

(x) Anderson hopes that human beings will never colonize an inhabited planet and exterminate its inhabitants (p. 177) but they do in his "Terminal Quest". He does not always present positive outcomes.

(xi) Anderson thinks that it is unlikely that rational species will differ greatly in intelligence (p. 139). However, in one of his short stories, human beings are more intelligent than the galactic average and, in another, they encounter a far more intelligent race.

(xii) Exogenesis (p. 184) is used for extra-Solar colonization in Orbit Unlimited and in Virgin Planet.

(xiii) "...the government itself might want to get rid of...misfits [to extra-Solar colonies]..." (p. 185)

This happens in Orbit Unlimited and in The Boat Of a Million Years.

(xiv) An Elder (older, wiser) Race (p. 135) is sought in the Technic History, is located at the galactic centre in For Love And Glory and is encountered in The Avatar. Humanity might become the Elder Race of a new universe in Tau Zero.

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