Wednesday, 19 November 2014


Poul Anderson's sf takes into account that stars move. Valenderay, the massive star whose supernova nearly wrecked Merseia:

"...was older than normal for its type in this region, must indeed have wandered in from other parts."
-Poul Anderson, David Falkayn: Star Trader (New York, 2010), p. 211.

This sounds familiar from other Anderson scenarios. In fact, the entire Cloud Universe cluster has an eccentric orbit that takes it through the gas clouds near the galactic center so that its composition is unexpected and unpredictable.

What is unusual is that a League ship passes near when Valenderay explodes. Its hydrogen has been exhausted. Its outer layers collapse. New atomic fusions create transuranic elements. Neutrons and neutrinos are radiated. The star briefly outshines the galaxy. There is drama not only in stellar empires but also in stellar processes.

Even between quantum hyperjumps, the ship's crew receive a dangerous level of radiation and must depart but scientific observers will return and Merseia, three light years away, provides an ideal base. Valenderay is between Betelgeuse and Rigel. We know that Merseia is beyond Betelgeuse and Rigel is often mentioned as a remote stellar frontier.

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