Friday, 26 May 2017


How much of a fictional narrative might describe not the actions of intelligent beings but natural events? In Poul Anderson's Mirkheim, Prologue, Y minus 500,000:

a star as bright as a hundred Sols burned for four hundred million years;

in a remote orbit, there was a planet as massive as fifteen hundred Earths, despite the fact that giant stars do not usually have planets;

the star exhausted the hydrogen fuel at its core;

it collapsed, fusing new elements, then exploded as a supernova;

any smaller planets were annihilated, their iron cores vaporized;

although the giant planet lost most of its mass, its molten core survived, coated in rare elements from the supernova;

for tens of millennia, the remnants of star and planet were surrounded by a nebula but this dissipated;

for half a million years, the remnants drifted in darkness, the planet's congealed alloy surface reflecting distant constellations.

Which other passages in Anderson's works describe such dramatic natural events with no input from intelligent beings?


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Commenting on your last sentence: do you mean descriptions of natural phenomena with no mention of intelligent observers? If so, that excludes the supernova seen in "Day Of Burning."


    1. Sean,
      I was trying to find dramatic natural events that occurred without the presence or at least without the intervention of intelligent beings.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Then I understood you correctly. Thanks!