Saturday, 15 October 2016

Pure Science

The inorganic intelligences in Poul Anderson's Genesis practice pure science. They seek knowledge for its own sake and I agree that this is good. In two other works by Poul Anderson, some human beings practice pure science but their search for knowledge is jeopardized by other considerations.

In "Esau," the trade post on Suleiman will be closed down if it becomes unprofitable even though:

"'Oh, no! We can't! The insights we're gaining -'" (The Van Rijn Method, p. 534)

OK. I could quote another work but here is the next quiz question: which novel or story am I thinking of?

(Make them work for you...)

6 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    My objection to the sophotects of the HARVEST OF STARS books and the AIs of GENESIS lay in how, with the best of intentions, they were SMOTHERING the human race, refusing to let mankind independently of what they wanted. The AIs failed in the HARVEST books but, alas, succeeded in GENESIS.

    Your quiz question is tough! I seem to recall something similar in another Anderson story, but I can't remember. Drat!

    Sean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sean,
      Anderson considers every possibility.
      Paul.

      Delete
    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Absolute agreement! And, to my annoyance, I omitted the word "act" in my first comment above, "...refusing to let mankind ACT independently of what they wanted."

      Sean

      Delete
  2. Paul:
    At first I was thinking of the question as a quote, and I drew a blank. Then I realized it describes the solution to "Turning Point" — assimilate the super-intelligent Jorillians into humanity. Resistance is futile.

    By coincidence, Leslie Fish wrote a humorous song, "Gremlins," which actually DOES use the words: "make them work for you." Her reasoning is that gremlins are descendants of the woodland sprites who used to be bought off with a bowl of milk. They attacked technology because humans stopped paying the protection fee....
    "So if you're bugged by machines that break,
    Best thing you can do
    Is make peace with the gremlin horde;
    Make them work for you.
    Drop some oil on an incense coal,
    Sacrifice antifreeze;
    Ask 'em to leave your stuff alone,
    And go bug your enemies.
    (Are you kidding? It worked in World War II!)"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David,
      We are thinking on different levels here! There is another Anderson work where a character is doing pure science but the project is in danger of being cut short because of other considerations.
      Paul.

      Delete
    2. Paul:
      Hmmmm. Well, I'm stymied for now. I keep getting this feeling like the answer is tickling at the back of my mind, but nothing comes into focus.

      Delete