Thursday, 25 May 2017

Contact Re-Established (Out Of The Silent City)

I have been in Birmingham for three nights without my laptop. When I try to sign in from a strange PC, Google sends a verification code to my old mobile number so we do not communicate. Any attempt to give them my new number fails. I have much to catch up on so please bear with me.

Poul Anderson and JRR Tolkien based fantasies on Norse mythology but Anderson also wrote in several other genres, mainly hard sf. Birmingham parks have been renamed the Shire Country Park after the Shire in Tolkien's Middle Earth. (Also, a town in Sicily has renamed itself after a fictional one. See here.)

Dwellers In Space
(i) Olaf Stapledon's pre-galactic nebulae.
(ii) Fred Hoyle's intelligent gas clouds.
(iii) CS Lewis' eldila.
(iv) James Blish's Angels.
(v) Poul Anderson's Aurigeans.
(vi) Larry Niven's Outsiders.

(i) and (ii) are gas.
(iii) are "hypersomatic."
(iv) and (v) are energy.
(vi) are solid.

Often, Anderson alone covers every option but sometimes, as here, he does it in cahoots with his illustrious colleagues. What authors' names to conjure with!

In Anderson's First Dominic Flandry Novel And Blish's Second Jack Loftus Novel
(i) Flandry visits Merseia while the Rhoidhunate plots to disarm Terra.
Jack visits Malis just as the Hegemony decides to annex Earth.

(ii) Flandry and his superior meet the Protector of the Roidhun's Council.
Jack and his superior meet the Hegemon of Malis.

(iii) Abrams and Flandry spy on Merseia.
An Angel concealed in the Earth ship spies on the Hegemony.

(iv) Merseians are less rule-bound than human beings.
Malans, even the Hegemon, are entirely ruled by their machine-interpreted laws.

(v) Flandry and one companion flee through hyperspace.
Jack and his two companions flee on the Haertel overdrive.

(vi) Land- and sea-dwelling Starkadians are natural enemies like men and wolves.
Land- and sea-dwelling Terrestrials (men and dolphins) decide to live in amity with each other and thus become able to live in amity with extraterrestrials.

(vii) Blish, like Anderson in other works, discusses the issue of freedom in future high-energy civilizations.

Dig it. Anderson fans, read Blish!

Jack Loftus heard not, as I had thought, the music of the spheres but a "dismal universal hiss," not quite the same thing! This will lead to reflections on:

chaos in Milton, Heinlein, Anderson and Alan Moore;
Milton as quoted by Lewis, Pullman and Blish.



Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Welcome back! I hope you had a good time in Birmingham. And, "Out Of The Silent City"? A nice play on C.S. Lewis' OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET.

I looked up the link to that Italian newspaper article, but no names jumped out at as being Tolkienian. Maybe It's just my ignorance of Italian.

Yes, twice we see in person Protectors of the Merseian Roidhun's Grand Council, Brechdan Ironrede and Tachwyr the Dark. But we never see any of the Roidhuns themselves By contrast, we see several Terran Emperors and their crown princes: Josip (while still heir apparent), Hans Molitor and then Crown Prince Dietrich, Emperor Gerhart.

I'm a skeptical of the notion of human beings and dolphins being "friends." Dolphins are intelligent animals, I agree, but still only animals. Moreover, the lack forelimbs capable of being used as arms would make it hard for them to evolve to true intelligence.


Paul Shackley said...

The parallel was just that Birmingham parks were renamed after the Middle Earth Shire and an Italian town was renamed after Montalbano's fictitious town.
In Blish's Jack Loftus novels, it has been discovered that dolphins are as intelligent as human beings and have a language.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Oops! And I actually noticed "Montalbano" in the newspaper article, from the Inspector Montalbano stories.

Until proven otherwise, I remain skeptical dolphins are as intelligent as human beings. But I do grant SF writers can play with such ideas!