Friday, 28 October 2016

Woden And Cynthia

In Elfland, Lunograd, trees grow tall because of the low Lunar gravity. Organisms on a large planet with high gravity should be low and wide except on Woden where the sun is energetic enough to compensate.

Adzel the Wodenite says:

"'...when I got a scholarship to study planetology on Earth, I earned extra money by singing Fafnir in the San Francisco Opera.'" (David Falkayn: Star Trader, p. 93.

Chee Lan the Cynthian retorts:

"'And by parading at Chinese New Year's...'" (ibid.)

Poul Anderson later ingeniously based an excellent short story on this dialogue.

When David Falkayn explains to a newly rescued young woman that the human discoverers of Cynthia named it after the captain's wife, Chee Lan retorts:

"'I have heard that she was not exactly his wife...'" (ibid.) -

- Falkayn blushes and glances at the young woman who, however, does not seem to be embarrassed. I should think not! Falkayn's apparent embarrassment dates this story somewhat.

Five hundred human beings, including children, were stranded on Ikrananka three generations previously. Adzel comments that such a small initial population would have lacked sufficient knowldge to maintain a modern civilization, especially since:

"'...a colony ship would not have carried a full microlibrary.'" (p. 92)

Our civilization needs more than five hundred people to keep it going. And they must also be people of widely differing aptitudes and interests. If everyone wanted to be a carpenter, then who would the plumbing let alone the brain surgery?


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Ha! Chee Lan's caustic humor, sardonic wit, and irreverence amuses me! As for Falkayn seeming to be "dated," I would suggest that mores on a colonial planet might well be stricter than on Earth. Also, mention is made of how Falkayn's father was also strict. All this can explain how Chee Lan could embarass Falkayn.

Exactly, a civilization needs a LARGE population to survive. Think of the desperate struggles Nantucket had to endure to prevent being forced back to a truly primitive level of technology in Stirling's ISLAND IN THE SEA OF TIME books.


Anonymous said...

Kaor, Paul and Sean!

I agree that the story is not necessarily dated by Falkayn's embarrassment; fashions in conduct and manners come and go. Also, Falkayn himself is not keeping himself a virgin until marriage (remember Jutta Horn, with others implied), but he might we'll have been brought up to think that there are things which a gentlemen does not discuss in mixed company, even if he actually does them.

Best Regards,
Nicholas D. Rosen

Sean M. Brooks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean M. Brooks said...


I deleted my previous comment because I improperly addressed it to Paul, not you. Exasperating!

Exactly! Falkayn might very well have been brought up to believe gentlebeings don't talk about CERTAIN things in mixed company. All the more so if David Falkayn's father was an aristocrat trying to teach his children to adhere to strict standards.

Regards! Sean