Friday, 1 November 2013

Star Ship III

Poul Anderson's "Star Ship" is about endings. The planet Khazak is in its Iron Age. Five human couples were stranded there fifty years ago. Two human generations have grown up on Khazak and, mostly, have adopted Khazaki culture. Dougald Anson of the third generation has adventured and fought around the planet with his close friend and comrade, the Khazaki Janazik. We would like to read those adventures.

The human beings have organized enough industry to built a rocket for the return journey to their orbiting exploratory faster than light interstellar spaceship. Because of the warlike Khazaki culture, there is a fight for the rocket. A usurper who can reach the Star Ship will be able to conquer the planet, then invade other planetary systems. This must be prevented.

There are human beings and Khazaki on both sides of the conflict. Masefield Ellen is with Anson, Janazik and the loyalists but Ellen's brother, Carson, is with the rebels. Ellen is Khazaki enough to regard anyone who kills Carse as a blood foe. Anson loves Ellen but kills Carson...

Janazik claims to have killed Carson. This means the end of his comradeship with Anson. But, in any case, contact with interstellar civilization will end the Khazaki Iron Age so Janazik loses not only his friend but his culture. Anson's prolonged adolescence ends when he marries Ellen. The three generations long isolation of the small human community on Khazak also comes to an end. In fact, the story is about nothing but endings.

It is implied that there is a Galactic civilization out there whereas, at this stage of the Chronology of Psychotechnic History, I think it is truer to say that humanity is just beginning to explore nearby planetary systems: a story of endings in an era of beginnings.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

And, of course, "Anson" was the middle name of Robert A. Heinlein! It might be a bit of a stretch, but Poul Anderson may have meant "Dougald ANSON" as a gesture of homage to Heinlein. AND, he again used "Anson" as the given name of Anson Guthrie in the Harvest of Stars books.


Paul Shackley said...

Yes, I think the name Anson is significant.