Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Multiverse: Bloodpride

Greg Bear and Gardner Dozois, Editors, Multiverse: Exploring Poul Anderson's Worlds (Burton, MI, 2014).

On closer investigation, this anthology includes two, not three, Technic History stories. In "Bloodpride," Gregory Benford accurately describes Poul Anderson's Ythrians, here called simply "Ythri," but changes their history and places them in a different fictitious future. Instead of hyperspace-traveling Terrans exploring extrasolar planets, including Ythri, Ythris in plasma drive spacecraft, seeking a Furian artifact, enter the Solar System through an Oort Cloud wormhole used by extrasolar races but concealed from humanity.

When the Furians' sun became a red giant, that now extinct race launched information-carrying solar sail Arks towards planets with detectable biospheres but as yet no evidence of intelligence. An Ark would use the light of a red giant to decelerate, then proceed towards a nearby dwarf star with a targeted planet. Four million years ago, a red giant passed close to Sol so Earth was targeted and the Ark should now be in the Solar System awaiting discovery by a space-traveling race. The Furians informed other races, including the Ythris, of their Arks by microwave.

SETI librarians, custodians of recorded transmissions from many extrasolar civilizations, might be able to help the Ythri to find the Ark in exchange for the coordinates of the wormhole. As a first step, one librarian gains the Ythri's respect by flying with them in Lunar gravity, as Lunar colonists and tourists do in Robert Heinlein's Future History.

This is a Gregory Benford interstellar future incorporating one race of Anderson aliens.

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