Sunday, 17 May 2015

The Sea Of Space

Poul Anderson, Starfarers (New York, 1999).

"Her gaze went back to the blackness; stars and nebulae and cold galactic river." (p. 176)

Poul Anderson regularly describes stars seen from space and I usually skip past such passages but now realize that I could instead compile a long comparative list of these descriptions by Anderson and other sf writers.

How often is the universe compared to water? Nearly every title on Gregory Benford's Galactic Center series makes this comparison:

In The Ocean Of Night
Across The Sea Of Suns
Great Sky River
Tides Of Light
Furious Gulf
Sailing Bright Eternity

James Blish wrote evocatively:

"It was the empty ocean of space that washes between galaxies." -Earthman, Come Home (London, 1963), p. 56.

"...the Rift turned and eventually faded out into a rill of emptiness, soaking into the sands of the stars." (p. 59)

And, in Anderson:

"...Rax...had drifted about until it stranded at last on this tolerant shore." -Young Flandry (New York, 2010), p. 214.

"...a brawling, polyglot, multiracial population, much of it transient, drifting in and out on the tides of space." -Flandry's Legacy (New York, 2012), p. 195.

Space has no tides but we get the idea.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I think using nautical terms for space and the stars makes sense as long as everyone knows they are simply metaphors.