Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Prose And Other Media

It is a privilege to be able to appreciate imaginative fiction of high quality in different genres and media. I must apologize to readers of this blog because reading Poul Anderson's "Pele" has been interrupted by seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which Samuel L Jackson plays Nick Fury, and this has led to rereading The Ultimates, the earlier graphic work in which Nick Fury was drawn to look like Samuel L Jackson (and said that he should be played by him!). (This in turn has led to a couple of posts on another blog.)

Back to "Pele": Poul Anderson had an endless ability to create extraordinary astronomical events for his space-traveling characters to observe and explore. Here, a gas giant ten times as massive as Jupiter falls into its sun. As the planet spirals inward, held together by its massive gravitational field, it fills its Roche lobe. I had to google this phrase, hence the attached image. Scientific observers speculate that material from the planet will spiral into the sun for decades or centuries until the reduced planetary core explodes.

Anderson also often showed dangerous unexpected events, usually explosions, in unfamiliar conditions, then explained them. Here, a smooth ancient asteroid from the outer system explodes when approached because the spacecraft's gravity polarizer volatilizes its metastable agglomerate of chondrules and ices. I have yet to finish reading the story but must now turn in for an early start tomorrow. 

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